Bar appoints special investigative advisor in Russia

Bar appoints special investigative advisor in Russia

Attorney General William Barr gave the attorney general he appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump investigation and Russia, and gave him the authority of a special advisor to complete the work without being easily fired.

Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he appointed US Attorney General John Durham as special counsel in October under the same federal law that governs Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the original Russia investigation. He said the Durham investigation was narrowing to focus more on the behavior of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

Under federal regulations, a private attorney can only be dismissed by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, default in business, or a conflict of interest. The Public Prosecutor must document these reasons in writing.

In July 2016 the FBI began investigating whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Special Counsel inherited this investigation nearly a year later, eventually finding insufficient evidence to accuse Trump or any of his associates of conspiring with Russia.

But the first months of the investigation, when agents obtained covert surveillance orders targeting a former Trump campaign aide, have long come under scrutiny by the president and other critics of the investigation who said the FBI had made big mistakes. An inspector’s report last year endorsed this criticism but found no evidence that errors in surveillance applications and other problems in the investigation were motivated by partisan bias.

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Barr said Tuesday that he had decided that “the best thing” was to appoint the investigators to the investigation “under the same list that covered Bob Muller, to provide Durham and his team with some assurance that they would be able to complete their work regardless of the election outcome.”


The Biden transition team did not immediately comment on the date.

Barr said the current investigation, a criminal investigation, started on a very large scale but was “fairly narrow” and now “is really focused on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation activities within the FBI.” He said he expected Durham to detail whether any additional trials would be offered and to publish a report of the investigation findings.

In the October 19 order obtained by the Associated Press, Barr says that Durham is authorized to “investigate whether any federal official, employee, person, or entity has violated the law in connection with intelligence, counterintelligence, or law enforcement activities” directed at the presidential campaigns of 2005. 2016, anyone associated with the campaigns or the Trump administration.

A senior Justice Department official told the AP that despite the details of the order that it “includes but is not limited to hurricane gunfire and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” the Durham investigation has not expanded. That line specifically concerned FBI personnel who worked on the Russian investigation prior to Mueller’s appointment in May 2017, the official said, a critical audit area for both Durham and the Inspector General of the Justice Department, who identified a series of errors and omissions in surveillance. Apps targeting a former Trump campaign partner.

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The focus on the FBI, rather than the CIA and the intelligence community, indicates that Durham may have overruled some of the incendiary allegations that Trump supporters had hoped would lead to allegations of misconduct, or even crimes – that is, the question of how the intelligence agencies came to their conclusion that Russia has interfered in the 2016 elections.

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