U.S. Attorney John Durham opened a criminal inquiry in his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and into the conduct of the Justice Department, FBI, and Intelligence Community during their scrutiny of possible connections between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.
The significant new move in the DOJ’s investigation of the investigators, which would give Durham the power to impanel a grand jury and hand down indictments, according to the New York Times.
The DOJ did not immediately return the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the secretive DOJ inquiry included scrutiny of former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, and British ex-spy Christopher Steele. Durham has also been seeking interviews with members of the CIA and FBI.
Durham, whose investigative portfolio recently expanded to include events from the launch of the inquiry in 2015 or 2016 through the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017, has taken overseas fact-finding trips with Attorney General William Barr, who was given “full and complete authority to declassify information” related to the origins of the Trump-Russia inquiry in May. Barr selected Durham to be his right-hand man soon after.
The 412 pages of redacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act documents released in 2018 show the DOJ and the FBI made extensive use of Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier. The opposition research firm Fusion GPS was hired by Clinton’s campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm, and Fusion GPS then hired Steele. Clinton’s campaign received briefings about Fusion GPS’s findings during 2016, and watchdog groups allege the campaign purposely concealed its actions from the Federal Election Commission. Steele’s Democratic benefactors, his desire for Trump to lose to Clinton, and the flaws with his dossier weren’t revealed to the FISA court.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who recently completed a FISA abuse investigation, said on Thursday that his report would be released soon.
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