Barr Tabs Special Prosecutor to Look Into Origins of Russia Hoax

AP source Prosecutor to examine Russia probe origins

Barr Tabs Special Prosecutor to Look Into Origins of Russia Hoax

On Tuesday he again called the Mueller report a "hoax", even if he previously said it exonerates him of allegations that he and his campaign colluded with Russian Federation to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Durham was first appointed as a special prosecutor by President Bill Clinton's Attorney General Janet Reno in 1999 to investigate law enforcement corruption in Boston centered around the F.B.I.'s treatment of notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. "What do you make of this guy and how can you stop Barr from doing what he's out to do now, destroy the Federal Bureau of Investigation?"

Barr went on to defend his use of the term at a subsequent hearing, telling lawmakers that spying "is a good English word" that accurately captures the FBI's behavior.

Barr has appointed John Durham, a USA attorney in CT, to examine the genesis of the Russian probe and determine if intelligence-collection efforts targeting the Trump campaign were "lawful and appropriate". Barr is working in close collaboration with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the source said.

Durham's inquiry, which will focus on whether the government's methods to collect intelligence relating to the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate, is separate from an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Barr has appointed John Durham, the United States attorney in CT, to conduct the inquiry, the person said.

Some Republicans have alleged that the FBI-Mueller probe was sparked by a dossier penned by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele at the behest of private investigators working for the Democratic Party.

Trump, asked outside the White House on Tuesday if he had ordered Barr to look into the matter, told reporters, "No I didn't ask him to do that". The agency's watchdog is also examining the Russian Federation probe's origins and Barr has said he expects the watchdog report to be done in May or June.

Congressional Republicans have also indicated they intend to examine how the investigation that has shadowed Trump's presidency began and whether there are any legal concerns.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT on Tuesday called Durham, who is a federal prosecutor for CT, a "talented professional. a straight-shooting serious, smart prosecutor" who is being wasted in a "politically-motivated distraction". Note that Durham was most recently nominated by President Trump, but has been assigned to oversee special cases in this realm by three Attorneys General - two of which were Democrats. He has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency videotapes and the Boston FBI office's relationship with mobsters.

Durham was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018. "It's a waste of his talent", Blumenthal said.

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