The Department of Justice’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe took a dramatic turn on Thursday when the investigation changed from an administrative review to an all out criminal investigation.
Now that the review is a criminal investigation, U.S. Attorney John Durham will now have “the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.”
The New York Times made sure to portray the move as President Trump abusing his power by “using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.”
“Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice,” The Times said.
For a Department of Justice review to become a criminal investigation, there must be a «reasonable indication» that a crime had been committed.
“Mr. Durham has indicated he wants to interview former officials who ran the C.I.A. in 2016 but has yet to question either Mr. Brennan or James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence,” The Times also noted. “Some C.I.A. officials have retained criminal lawyers in anticipation of being interviewed.”
This breaking revelation comes after a bombshell report came out on Tuesday that the probe was «significantly» expanding, forcing former CIA officials like John Brennan and James Clapper to hire lawyers.
“I don’t know what the legal basis for this is,” Brennan angrily said on NBC News when he confirmed that the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe was expanding.
“I’m very comfortable with everything I was involved in,” he also noted.
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NBC News reported: “Durham has also requested to talk to CIA analysts involved in the intelligence assessment of Russia’s activities, prompting some of them to hire lawyers, according to three former CIA officials familiar with the matter… tension between the CIA and the Justice Department over what classified documents Durham can examine.”
Check out what the Daily Wire reported:
The New York Times also revealed some new details about the ongoing review Saturday. Citing unnamed former officials and others familiar with the matter, the Times reports that the federal prosecutors “have asked witnesses pointed questions about any anti-Trump bias among former F.B.I. officials who are frequent targets of President Trump and about the earliest steps they took in the Russia inquiry.”
Thus far, according to the Times’ sources, Durham’s team has interviewed about two dozen current and former FBI officials, while two senior FBI officials are assisting in the process. “The number of interviews shows that Mr. Durham’s review is further along than previously known,” the Times notes.
As for the expansion of the probe, NBC reports that Barr has given Durham the go-ahead to expand both his staff and the timeframe he can examine, which now includes “conduct past Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.” NBC also notes suggestively that DOJ officials would offer no comment when asked if the review has “morphed” into a criminal investigation.