U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham has been appointed by Attorney General William Barr to examine whether the origins of the special counsel’s Russia probe were “lawful and appropriate,” according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
The development comes only weeks after Barr expressed his belief that there was “spying” against the President’s campaign, providing no evidence to support his claim.
Although Barr didn’t explain what exactly he was referring to, some believe he may have been referring to a surveillance warrant on former Trump associate Carter Page obtained by the FBI, as well as to the use of an FBI informant to look into George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, New York Post writes.
As a result, the President and his supporters have long alleged the Justice Department and the bureau spied on his campaign.
An investigation into the probe’s origins is likewise being conducted by the Justice Department’s inspector general, but that one is separate from the one ordered by Barr. The DOJ’s inquiry is expected to end by the end of this month or June the latest.
Durham’s investigation will look into whether the government employed lawful methods to collect intelligence on the Trump campaign and Congressional Republicans have also signaled they want to focus on how the two-year-long Russia investigation came to be and whether there are any legal concerns.
Durham is a career prosecutor who has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI’s relationship with mobsters.
He was nominated for U.S. attorney in Connecticut by Trump and at the time, the state’s two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy described him as a “fierce, fair prosecutor.”
While conducting the probe, Durham will not leave his post as the chief federal prosecutor in Connecticut.