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Did the White House downplay William Bar's investigation into Russia?



From the outset, the probe was guided by Attorney General William Bar's suspicions – critics call them conspiracy theories – that some of the officials overseeing Trump's counter-intelligence investigation in 2016 may have acted wrong. His embrace of these theories equates to President Trump's main complaint that he is the victim of a deep-state espionage operation that is clouding his presidency. And some of the steps taken indicate that the investigation is something different from a typical law enforcement investigation.

A picture of Durham's work began to emerge from other agencies in the US and from people who are expected to be part of his review.

Barr, who has a long standing reputation as a micro-control, has also used an unusually control approach to the probe.

Some witnesses have already been questioned, with several interviewing Durham in the summer, according to several sources. But at least two people are reluctant to speak to investigators, according to two sources familiar with the investigation. Durham said he still interviewed CIA officials, according to sources, but was spotted in the corridors there.

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Durham refrained from imposing some testimony, signaling that at least the public did not is ready to call it a criminal investigation. But there remains the possibility of criminal charges coming out of the probe.

Other indications are that the review is atypical of law enforcement efforts. For example, the office of the department's inspector general, a department that works independently, shared information with Durham from its own review of foreign intelligence surveillance.

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, was admitted to congressional testimony almost mid-September.

"I have had communications with him, but he really is – they are a separate entity that he is working on at the direction of the attorney general," Horowitz said. "I am clearly independent."

Justice Department officials have provided only limited information on what Durham is specifically looking for. A spokesman for the department declined comment on the story, as did Durham and the Inspector General's office.

Investigation

Durham has a small team that includes staff from the Justice Department's staff who assist him, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

Barr had earlier signaled that the review would include a review of the work of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who compiled studies on Trump and Russia in a file commissioned by Fusion GPS, a research and investigation firm.

His department also deals with some of what Durham is investigating regarding Ukraine when a White House summary of the July 25 conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky was published last month.

  US Attorney John Durham

'Durham separately examines the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, have played a role in the counter-intelligence investigation aimed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election g. Although the Attorney General has not yet contacted Ukraine in connection with this investigation, some Ukrainians who are not members of the government have provided voluntary information to Mr Durham, which he appreciates, "Justice Ministry spokesman Kerry said Merchant at the time in

In many respects, the outline provided by the Justice Department expressed the hopes of the president, and Trump asked the prime ministers of Australia and the United Kingdom for assistance in the study, which he considered defamatory to the investigation. in Russia, CNN reported this month.

The Role of the Bar

Bar's travels were unusual not only because of their secrecy, but also about how the Justice Department handled them, with personal Attorney-General's work as an investigator.

In other investigations, including the probe of Special Advocate Robert Mueller, prosecutors used a formal process to send requests to foreign governments as directed by the treaty. It is unclear if this was done during the Durham investigation, raising questions about how any information found by Bar could be used in court.
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Among Bar-Durham's trips to win public attention was last month in Italy to meet partly with Italian officials, to gather information about Joseph Mifsud, a shady professor whose discussions with an associate of the Trump campaign became part of Mueller's investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mifsud has become a target of fascination with some conservative media outlets, where stories say he works for US or Western intelligence and has been tasked with spying on the Trump campaign.

But not all foreign raids go according to plan.

British officials have expressed a reluctance to become part of political conflicts in the United States this year and cited information they provided to US law enforcement in 2016, according to someone familiar with the matter.

And more recently, the Australian Ambassador to Washington reacted sharply when Senator Lindsey Graham publicly called on Australia and other countries to support the Bar probe and used a feature often found in conservative media to describe the role of a former Australian diplomat the investigation in Russia.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, stated that an Australian diplomat was directed to contact an aide to Trump's campaign. Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey replied publicly that while his country would cooperate with the Bar, "we are rejecting your characterization of his role", referring to an Australian diplomat whose tip to the FBI has jumped, an investigation has begun in Russia.

"a serious red line," says Bar,

The Attorney General has been widespread with skepticism about the Trump Russia investigation and how it began long before he took office.

At the beginning of his term, after appointing Durham, he described concerns.

"Counterintelligence actions were taken against the Trump campaign. And I'm not saying that there was no basis for being legitimate, but I want to see what that basis is and make sure it's legitimate." Bar said in an interview with CBS in May.

He wants an intelligence review, he said in this interview, because "the use of foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities against a US political campaign is, in my view, unprecedented and a serious red line crossed."

  The Trump Scandal Against Ukraine: Who Who?

[19659026] It is unclear whether Bar learned information from his own sources or whether these suspicions were driven by conservative media stories that spun a wide-ranging narrative claiming that US security agencies illegally spied on Americans as part of the investigation .

Barr advertised that the review was "broad in scope and multilateral," and Mulvani cited the review Thursday as justification for the administration's demands from Ukraine.

Without any indication of the conclusion of the review, it may continue to be used by the White House during next year's presidential election.

But in recent days, the White House and the Justice Department have clarified that the review covers the coastal part of the president's enduring grief over the Russia investigation.

Mulvaney stated on Thursday at the White House that the administration provided assistance to Ukraine in exchange for assistance with the 2016 election investigation, an act that Parliament is now considering as it looks at potential reasons to implicate the president.

Mulvaney then referred to Durham. "So you're saying that the President of the United States, the Chief Justice, can't ask anyone to assist in a continuing public inquiry into misconduct?" It's just weird to you that you wouldn't think you could do that, "Mulvani countered on a reporter when pressed for a quid pro quo.

The Justice Department quickly distanced itself from Mulvani, a senior official saying, If the White House refuses assistance with any Department of Justice co-operation, this is news to us. "

The Durham review is far from done – meaning any potential conclusions from it could be made public. until the 2020 elections a separate report from the Justice Department's inspector general on the outside surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page is much closer to his release as soon as next month. According to one source, Barr was briefed on him recently last week, with the FBI also reviewing it, according to several knowledgeable people. Last month, Horowitz said his office had actually forwarded findings to the Justice Department "for noting them."

Trump also regularly asserts that the release of the report is inevitable. But this does not seem to be true, partly because the witnesses involved have not yet been able to review draft versions, as is standard procedure.


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