Investigating the investigators. If only they’d started all of this a bit sooner.
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Tuesday, Attorney General Barr announced the appointment of Special Counsel John Durham a US Attorney, to probe the Russia investigation that targeted the Trump camp.
From the Associated Press:
Attorney General William Barr has given extra protection to the prosecutor he appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, giving him authority to complete the work without being easily fired.
Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel in October under the same federal statute that governed special counsel Robert Mueller in the original Russia probe. He said Durham’s investigation has been narrowing to focus more on the conduct of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.
Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.
The investigations grew out of allegations of cooperation between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russians to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Mueller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election,” Barr said Tuesday.
Biden’s transition team didn’t immediately comment on the appointment.
The current investigation, a criminal probe, had begun very broadly but has since “narrowed considerably” and now “really is focused on the activities of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation within the FBI,” Barr said. He said he expects Durham would detail whether any additional prosecutions will be brought and make public a report of the investigation’s findings.
In an Oct. 19 order, obtained by The Associated Press, Barr says Durham is authorized “to investigate whether any federal official, employee or any person or entity violated the law in connection with the intelligence, counter-intelligence or law enforcement activities” directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns, anyone associated with the campaigns or the Trump administration.
The special counsel rules say the appointed person should be outside of government, but Barr pointed to statutes that he said would allow him to go around that.
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