According to Fox News, who received this information from a person close to the situation, Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation in order to determine if intelligence collection efforts targeting Trump were considered “lawful and appropriate.” According to the source, a U.S. attorney from Connecticut named John Durham will conduct the investigation. This move comes at the hands of the Trump administration, who has pushed for answers on why the federal authorities conducted the surveillance in the first place. It’s also meant to find out whether or not the Democrats were the ones guilty of colluding with foreign actors. Fox News was told by two different sources that Attorney General Barr was “serious” and had assigned personnel from the DOJ to conduct the probe. Durham is well-known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor.
Sources that are close to the matter have said that the focus of the probe includes the “pre-transition period” – before Nov. 7, 2016, which includes the use and initiation of informants, as well as potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Earlier this month, it was discovered that an informant that was working for U.S. intelligence acted as a research assistant at Cambridge University in order to find any possible links between the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos and Russia. According to Fox News, Papadopoulos said that the informant attempted to “seduce” him as part of the “bizarre” assignment.
In the past, Durham has investigated corruption within law enforcement, the destruction of CIA videotapes, as well as the relationship that the FBI office in Boston had with mobsters. It is set for Durham to continue to be the chief federal prosecutor in Connecticut. In January of this year, House Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows wrote to Durham in an attempt to get a briefing from him, saying that they had “discovered” that Durham’s office was put in charge of “investigating [former FBI General Counsel James Baker] for unauthorized disclosures to the media.” Durham’s review of the case would exist alongside the continuous probe by DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, who is looking into the potential surveillance abuses by the FBI. This investigation began last March, but according to Fox News, it should be coming to an end very soon.
Republicans are also looking for answers from U.S. Attorney from Utah, John Huber. Huber was appointed a year ago by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review the surveillance abuses committed by the FBI and the DOJ, as well as the way the authorities handled the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Republicans have warned that Huber has apparently made very little progress and has spoken to a couple key witnesses and whistleblowers. Apparently, in January of this year, then-Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker indicated at a private meeting that Huber’s work was coming along very quickly.
Durham was appointed after Barr told the members of Congress that he believes that “spying did occur” on the Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Barr said later that he was gathering a team to look into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Once the Democrats discovered that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report didn’t prove that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian actors, they released their anger and frustration on Attorney General Barr. Mueller’s final report has caused some chaos in D.C., especially when you take the number of redactions to the report into consideration. According to the DOJ, the redactions are legally necessary because they pertain to matters of the grand jury.
In order to obtain a secret FISA warrant to spy on former Trump aide Carter Page, the FBI copy-pasted directly from a controversial opinion article in the Washington Post to suggest that the Trump campaign may have been compromised. The FBI also continuously reassured the court that they “did not believe” that British ex-spy Christopher Steele was the direct source the Yahoo News article that implicated Page in Russian collusion.
According to London court records, contrary to the FBI’s information, Steele briefed Yahoo News and other reporters in the fall of 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS, which is the opposition research firm behind the Steele dossier. Fusion GPS was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, a little piece of information that wasn’t released in the FISA application.
The FISA application, which was taken word-for-word from the Washington Post article, claimed that the Trump campaign had “worked behind the scenes” to “gut” the GOP platform on Russia and Ukraine. Apparently, the FBI didn’t actually conduct its own assessment of the article, which was clearly labeled as an “opinion” column by the Post.
In addition, text messages from within the FBI, which were obtained by Fox News earlier this year, showed that a senior official in the DOJ raised some concerns about the bias in a key FISA warrant, but FBI officials moved on, regardless. According to Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said: “There’s a document that’s classified that I’m gonna try to get unclassified that takes the dossier — all the pages of it — and it has verification to one side. There really is no verification, other than media reports that were generated by reporters that received the dossier.”