Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Attorney general picks prosecutor to investigate FBI's Trump inquiry

Deanna Wagner | 14 May, 2019, 23:57

"I did not know about it", he said before repeating his usual criticism of the probe and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Barr has appointed a US attorney to examine the origins of the Russian Federation investigation and determine if intelligence collection involving the Trump campaign was “lawful and appropriate.

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. I think it's great". And you know what, I'm proud of our attorney general that his is looking into it.

Clapper went on to say "we're kind of losing sight" of the fact that the investigation was caused by Russia's interfere with American political institutions and their attempts to engage with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

FBI Director Chris Wray said last week that he does not consider court-approved FBI surveillance to be "spying" and said he has no evidence the FBI illegally monitored Trump's campaign.

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Durham is a career federal prosecutor who has handled high-profile investigations before, including a probe into the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency tapes in 2005 of detainees being interrogated. 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.

The review that Barr has commissioned is broad-based and includes working with Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, according to the person.

The 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.

Wray's testimony to a Senate panel stood in contrast with comments made by Attorney General William P. Barr at a hearing last month at which he told lawmakers that "spying did occur" during the investigation into Russian election interference and called it "a big deal".

Durham, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate as US attorney in 2018, has a storied history of investigating issues of corruption and national security under both Democratic and Republican administrations.