DOJ opens criminal investigation of Russia probe; impending IG report ‘will shed light on why’

Attorney General William Barr is now treating the review of the Russia investigation as a criminal investigation according to new reports.

U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation has now shifted to a criminal inquiry, two sources familiar with the matter told The New York Times, which indicated that the move would give the prosecutor “the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.”

(Video: Fox News)


“Finally we might get to the truth as we have been demanding for quite a while,” Fox News host Sean Hannity announced on “Hannity” Thursday, adding that “the Deep State has every reason to panic.”

Barr’s recent trip to Italy uncovered new evidence that has reportedly prompted the change in status, sources told Fox News earlier this week.

According to Fox News:

President Trump last month informed several countries that Barr would be contacting the appropriate law enforcement entities in each country, according to a DOJ official. When Barr was in Italy that month, he spoke to law enforcement officials there about Durham’s review, the source told Fox News.

Additionally, documents obtained by Fox News confirmed that Australia proactively offered support for Barr’s review, and seemingly contradicted reporting that Trump was pressuring other countries to assist.


Reports that Durham’s probe was expanding indicated that he was “very interested” in interviewing former Obama administration intelligence officials, notably former CIA Director John Brennan and director of national intelligence James Clapper.

Durham was initially appointed to investigate the intelligence and law enforcement communities and their handling of events related to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, as well as into his inauguration in January 2017. But the investigation has reportedly been expanding and now will extend into the spring of 2017 which includes the time period that Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel, according to Fox News.

The Connecticut U.S. Attorney is “gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

According to The New York Times:

Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.

It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.


Naturally, the new report of a criminal investigation set off critics.

The latest report comes as anticipation builds for the release of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on his investigation into alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“As soon as Horowitz is done with his review of the FISA warrant application, the counterintelligence investigation, the Trump campaign, we’ll have a hearing in public with Horowitz and we’ll call a bunch of witnesses,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox Business Network Sunday.

The impending report along with Durham’s review could rattle Democrats and their impeachment efforts.

“If the rumors are true that IG Horowitz’s report and findings in Durham’s review will blast the conduct of the FBI’s Russia investigation, it will give Trump a lot of ammo to support his argument that he was unjustly targeted then and is being unjustly targeted now,” a House GOP source told Fox News. “It will justify Trump’s warnings about the Deep State acting to hobble his presidency.”


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Frieda Powers


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