United States Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation is reportedly taking a close look at former CIA Director John Brennan.
Durham has “requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry,” The New York Times reported. “He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.”
In October, The Times reported that the investigation had shifted from an administrative review into a full-fledged criminal investigation based on evidence that had allegedly been uncovered.
Durham is also reportedly taking a close look at whether Brennan made contradictory statements between his private and public remarks about the anti-Trump Steele dossier and about “any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference.”
The Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s misconduct in surveilling the Trump campaign during the 2016 campaign found that the CIA informed the FBI not to rely on the Steele dossier because they viewed it as being as credible as an “internet rumor.”
The New York Times added:
Mr. Brennan has come into Mr. Durham’s sights as he has focused on the intelligence community assessment released in January 2017 that used information from the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency to detail Russia’s meddling. They concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an influence campaign that “aspired to help” Mr. Trump’s chances by damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Officials and analysts who worked on that assessment disagreed on how to treat two pieces of intelligence: the assertion that Mr. Putin wanted to help Mr. Trump win rather than simply sow chaos, and the contents of the dossier of salacious, unproven allegations about links between Russia and Trump associates compiled by a British former spy, Christopher Steele.
Mr. Durham’s investigators also want to know to more about the discussions that prompted intelligence community leaders to include Mr. Steele’s allegations in the appendix of their assessment.
Attorney General William Barr told Fox News on Wednesday that Durham was “not just looking at the FBI. He is looking at other agencies and also private departments and also private actors and so it is a much broader investigation. And also he is not just looking at the FISA aspect of it. He is looking at all the conduct – both before and after the election.”
Barr also slammed disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, saying, “One of the things that I object to is the tact being taken by Comey, which is to suggest that people who are criticizing or trying to get to the bottom of the misconduct are somehow attacking the FBI. I think that’s nonsense. We’re criticizing and concerned about misconduct by a few actors at the top of the FBI and they should be criticized if they engaged in serious misconduct. That doesn’t mean we are criticizing the FBI and I think the tact of trying to wrap yourself in the institution and say gee, people who are criticizing the decisions I made are attacking the institution. I notice people don’t do that as far as I’m concerned. People feel free to criticize me and I don’t say gee you’re attacking the honest men and women of the Department of Justice. I think leaders have to own their decisions and are fair game if they make bad decisions.”
This article has been updated to include additional information.