WASHINGTON (AP) – Attorney General William Barr provided special protection for the prosecutor, who was appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump – Russia probe, and was given a special advisory mandate to complete the job easily without being fired.
Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that John Durham had appointed U.S. attorney special counsel in October under the same federal statute that led special adviser Robert Mueller in the original Russia case. He said Durham’s investigation narrowed to focus more on the behavior of FBI agents who were working on a Russian investigation known as the Crossfire Hurricane.
According to federal regulations, a special adviser can only be appointed by the Attorney General and for specific reasons such as breach of duty, breach of duty, or conflict of interest. The Attorney General must document such reasons in writing.
In July 2016, the FBI began investigating whether the Trump campaign would coordinate with Russia to influence the outcome of the presidential election. This trial was inherited by Special Adviser Mueller almost a year later, who eventually found insufficient evidence to accuse Trump or any of his colleagues of conspiring with Russia.
But the early months of the investigation, when agents received covert surveillance orders targeting a former Trump campaign helper, had long been investigated by the president and other critics of the probe, who said the FBI had made significant mistakes. The supervisor’s general report last year supported this criticism, but found no evidence that errors in surveillance applications and other probe problems were caused by party bias.
Barr said Tuesday he decided it would be “best” to appoint investigators of the investigation “under the same decree that applied to Bob Mueller to give Durham and his team some assurance that they will be able to complete their work, regardless of whether the result of the election. “
Biden’s interim team did not immediately comment on the appointment.
The current investigation, the criminal proceedings, began very widely, but has since ‘significantly narrowed’ and is now within the FBI with the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, ”Barr said. He said he expects Durham to detail whether further criminal proceedings will be launched and will release a report on the results of the investigation.
In an October 19 order obtained by the Associated Press, Barr said Durham was empowered to “investigate whether a federal official, employee, or any person or organization violated the law in connection with intelligence, counterintelligence, or law enforcement.” at the 2016 presidential campaigns, anyone involved with the campaigns or the Trump administration.
A senior official in the Department of Justice told the AP that although the order details that “including, but not limited to, the investigation of Crossfire Hurricane and Special Adviser Robert S. Mueller III,” the Durham probe has not expanded. The official said this line applies specifically to FBI personnel who were working on the Russian investigation before the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, a critical area of control for both Durham and the Attorney General of Justice, who identified a number of errors and omissions in surveillance. applications targeted at a former Trump campaign employee.
Focusing on the FBI rather than the CIA and the intelligence community, it can be concluded that Durham may move on to some of the more inflammatory allegations that Trump’s supporters hoped they were committing misconduct or even crimes — namely, how intelligence agencies came to the conclusion that Russia intervened in the 2016 elections.