Attorney General William Barr has assigned a federal prosecutor to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, with the goal of determining whether or not there was misconduct in the way investigators came to the decision to investigate the Trump campaign, according to The New York Times.
Barr assigned Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to the task. Durham specializes in investigating potential wrongdoing by national security officials .
Durham, who has been with the Department of Justice since 1982, has led high-profile investigations such as a probe into the FBI’s handling of informant and organized crime leader Whitey Bulger and the investigation into the CIA’s destruction of videos allegedly showing torture of terrorism suspects.
While Durham has been appointed to this special investigative assignment, he is notably not a special counsel, a role that would come with increased authority.
President Donald Trump and some other Republicans have called for a special counsel to “investigate the investigators” after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report found that the president’s campaign did not collude with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“I became President of the United States in one of the most hard fought and consequential elections in the history of our great nation,” Pres. Trump wrote. “From long before I ever took office, I was under a sick & unlawful investigation concerning what has become known as the Russian Hoax. My campaign was being seriously spied upon by intel agencies and the Democrats. This never happened before in American history, and it all turned out to be a total scam, a Witch Hunt, that yielded No Collusion, No Obstruction. This must never be allowed to happen again!”
The Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is also investigating whether political bias influenced investigation decisions related to the president and his campaign. John Huber, a United States attorney from Utah, is also looking into the Russia investigation.