Attorney General Bill Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation and to determine if the FBI's surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 was legal.
The Associated Press reported that a source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Barr "appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to conduct the inquiry."
"The inquiry will focus on whether the government’s methods to collect intelligence relating to the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate," The AP added. "Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI office’s relationship with mobsters."
In April, a Trump administration official told Fox News that Barr had assembled a team to investigate the origins of the Obama administration's FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.
"I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016," Barr said during a congressional hearing in April.
Fox News reported on Monday that multiple sources had told the network that "Barr was 'serious' and had assigned DOJ personnel to the probe. Durham is known as a 'hard-charging, bulldog' prosecutor, Fox News is told."
"Sources familiar with matter say the focus includes pre-transition period -- prior to Nov. 7, 2016 -- including the use and initiation of informants, as well as potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses," Fox News added. "An informant working for U.S. intelligence posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016 to try to probe George Papadopoulos, then a Trump foreign policy adviser, on the campaign's possible ties to Russia, it emerged earlier this month. And, Papadopoulos told Fox News, the informant tried to 'seduce' him as part of the 'bizarre' episode."
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) reacted to the news by writing on Twitter: "John Durham is an outstanding choice for special prosecutor investigating 2016 pre-election activities—his selection further demonstrates Bill Barr’s tenacity and determined desire to get to the truth and restore credibility at the top tier of the DOJ and FBI."
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