United States Attorney John Durham is expanding his investigation into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Russia and the Trump campaign after his team reportedly made significant discoveries.
Fox News’ Bret Baier reported on Tuesday in a Fox News exclusive that “based on what he has been finding, Durham has expanded his investigation adding agents and resources, the senior administration officials said. The timeline has grown from the beginning of the probe through the election and now has included a post-election timeline through the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.”
“Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham traveled to Italy recently to talk to law enforcement officials there about the probe and have also had conversations with officials in the U.K. and Australia about the investigation, according to multiple sources familiar with the meetings,” Baier added.
Barr’s appointment of Durham to conduct that investigation was revealed this May when the Associated Press reported: “The inquiry will focus on whether the government’s methods to collect intelligence relating to the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate. Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI office’s relationship with mobsters.”
The Trump administration told Fox News in April that Barr had assembled a team to investigate the origins of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign:
Attorney General William Barr has assembled a “team” to investigate the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, an administration official briefed on the situation told Fox News on Tuesday.
The FBI’s July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was formally opened by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Ex-FBI counsel Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was romantically involved, revealed during a closed-door congressional interview that the FBI “knew so little” about whether allegations against the Trump campaign were “true or not true” at the time they opened the probe, noting they had just “a paucity of evidence because we are just starting down the path” of vetting the allegations.
During a congressional hearing in April, Barr said: “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.”
Durham has been described as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor.
“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 noted in a separate report. “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.”
Reuters reported on Tuesday: “Durham’s probe seems to be moving at a more deliberate pace in Washington. While the FBI says it has been cooperating, senior figures involved in the 2016 investigation have not yet heard from Durham’s team, according to sources familiar with the matter. Among them: former FBI general counsel James A. Baker; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; former FBI agent Peter Strzok; and David Laufman, a former senior Justice Department official.”