US AG Barr sets up team to probe ori­gins of Rus­sia med­dling probe

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - World - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ n

At­tor­ney gen­eral Wil­liam Barr has as­signed a top fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor to in­ves­ti­gate the ori­gins of FBI’s probe into Rus­sia med­dling in US elec­tions and its fo­cus on mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

US at­tor­ney for Con­necti­cut John H Durham had been at work on this for a few weeks now be­fore The New York Times first iden­ti­fied him as the of­fi­cial as­signed by Barr to con­duct the re­view, which the AG had talked about.

Durham is a veteran of such spe­cial as­sign­ments en­trusted to him by both Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic ad­min­is­tra­tions of the past. He in­ves­ti­gated FBI’s links with Boston mafia, and the tor­ture of CIA de­tainees and the de­struc­tion of video record­ings of them.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his al­lies had been press­ing the depart­ment of jus­tice to “in­ves­ti­gate the in­ves­ti­ga­tors” since Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s re­port found no ev­i­dence that any Amer­i­can con­spired with the Rus­sia med­dling and that there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to de­ter­mine the pres­i­dent had com­mit­ted the of­fence of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

Asked if he had or­dered Barr to ap­point Durham, the pres­i­dent said to re­porters Tues­day, “I didn’t ask him to do that ... I didn’t know it ... I think it’s a great thing that he did it.”

Trump has al­leged he was spied upon, a charge that was re­peated by at­tor­ney gen­eral Barr at a con­gres­sional ap­pear­ance, and that it was all a part of a coup against him.

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