by Chuck Ross
Attorney General William Barr believes that U.S. Attorney John Durham is likely to produce a report of his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, he said in an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday.
Barr also said he has seen evidence that leads him to believe that U.S. officials engaged in “troubling” activity — and not simple “mistakes or sloppiness” — related to investigations against the Trump campaign.
“We are going to get to the bottom of it, and if people broke the law and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted,” Barr told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.
Barr tapped Durham in April 2019 to lead a broad examination of U.S. agencies’ surveillance activities against members of the Trump campaign. The probe has since morphed into a full-blown investigation.
Barr has said that Durham is investigating the activities of FBI and CIA officials, as well as those of unnamed “private actors.”
The investigation has covered some of the same ground as a Justice Department inspector general’s probe of the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign and campaign aide Carter Page.
Barr said that Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has been “diligently pursuing” the investigation.
“I think the report may be, and probably will be, a byproduct of his activity, but his primary focus isn’t to prepare a report,” Barr said. “My own view is that the evidence shows that we are not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness, there is something far more troubling here.”
Barr has not previously said whether Durham will produce a report of the investigation.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, reportedly made a criminal referral to Durham against former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. The IG report said that Clinesmith altered an email he received from the CIA in June 2017 related to Page.
Horowitz also found 17 “significant” errors and omissions that the FBI made in applications for surveillance warrants against Page. The IG report said that FBI agents withheld information that undercut the theory that Trump campaign aides were working with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Durham has reportedly looked into U.S. intelligence activities related to Trump associates before the FBI opened its investigation of the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. He is also probing the FBI’s handling of the infamous Steele dossier, as well as an intelligence community assessment that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election specifically to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times has reported that Durham is probing former CIA Director John Brennan’s role in crafting the intelligence community assessment.
Barr and Durham have worked together closely during the investigation. The Justice Department released emails last week that showed that Durham visited the Justice Department or had conference calls with DOJ leadership more than a dozen times over the course of a three-month period last year.
Durham reportedly traveled with Barr to visit intelligence officials in Italy and Australia.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Background Photo “DOJ Building” by Policeguy31. CC BY-SA 4.0.