USA attorney general launches fresh review of origins of Russian Federation probe

William Barr

Enlarge Image William Barr Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said it was "very unfair" that the Senate Intelligence Committee wanted his son, Donald Jr., to testify again.

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. While Durham's work could overlap with the inspector general's, the person said, Durham has more powers as a USA attorney - including the ability to charge people with crimes, however unlikely that might be.

Barr has stated previously that he believes there was "spying" on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the Trump campaign.

Two people familiar with the matter said Durham is focused on the origins of the investigation during the 2016 presidential campaign, rather than the work Mueller and others did after Inauguration Day. Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin.

"The investigation had nothing to do with the [Steele] dossier, it frankly had nothing to do with the Trump campaign".

He added "There is a substantial investigation, which as I understand it, is nearing completion, being conducted by the Justice Department Inspector General".

President Trump criticized FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday, saying he gave a "ridiculous answer" during congressional testimony last week when he declined to characterize an FBI investigation of Trump campaign advisers in 2016 as "spying".

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The review will also examine whether a dossier that included salacious accusations against Trump was fabricated by the Russian government to dupe US intelligence agencies and the FBI, Barr has said.

In a speech in Baltimore Monday evening, former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said he believed the investigation "was justified, and closing it was not an option".

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

Durham was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018.

Durham is a career prosecutor who was nominated for his post as USA attorney in CT by Trump.

Durham also ran a task force looking into allegedly corrupt dealings between law enforcement officials in Boston and James "Whitey" Bulger, a now-deceased crime gang leader. At the time, Connecticut's two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, called Durham a "fierce, fair prosecutor" who knows how to try tough cases.

In addition to conducting the inquiry, Durham will continue to serve as the chief federal prosecutor in CT.

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