Barr appoints U.S. attorney to investigate Russia probe
by Harvest Prude
Posted 5/14/19, 11:58 am
Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to look into the origins of the Russia investigation and determine whether the federal government’s surveillance of President Donald Trump’s campaign was lawful. Barr tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to conduct the inquiry, The New York Times and other media outlets reported based on anonymous sources. Durham will focus on whether the government’s intelligence-gathering methods were legal.
After special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election ended, Barr said at an Senate hearing last month that he was reviewing how it got started and believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. Democrats accused Barr of furthering partisan interests by feeding suspicions that political bias motivated the investigation. Durham’s review is separate from the Department of Justice inspector general’s inquiry into the FBI Russia probe, expected to conclude in May or June.
Congressional Republicans have also announced plans to review aspects of the government’s handling of the Russia probe. At a news conference in March, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he will look into whether political bias against Trump motivated the Justice Department’s actions. He also said he would examine the FBI’s use of an anti-Trump dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele and whether there was any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored the Trump campaign.
Durham has previously investigated corruption in the upper echelons of law enforcement, including the FBI’s relationship with Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.