Mr. Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI investigation into Russian links to the Trump campaign in 2016 will continue under the new Biden administration thanks to an order from Attorney General William Barr to appoint Durham as Special Advisor.
Speaking in a letter on Tuesday informing lawmakers of Durham’s appointment, Barr said that he originally intended Durham to complete his report this summer, but that this was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. He appointed Durham as Special Advisor in October “to give him and his team the assurance that they can complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election.
Barr’s order contained few details about the ongoing investigation, noting that it focused on potential crimes committed by federal officials or others who may have violated the law “in connection with intelligence, counterintelligence or law enforcement activities aimed at the 2016 presidential campaign,” as well as the FBI’s Operation Crossfire Hurricane and the investigation by former special advisor Robert Mueller.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr said Durham’s investigation had “narrowed down considerably” since its inception in 2019 and was now “truly focused on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation activities within the FBI.
President Donald Trump has expressed hope that the Durham investigation will justify his attacks on Müller’s two-year investigation of the Russian election intervention, which he has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.
I think there will be further indictments. Based on the information I have access to, I am sure there will be further charges.
Director of the National Intelligence Agency John Ratcliffe
Durham’s investigation so far has resulted in a criminal complaint against former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith. Clinesmith, a low-level agent, pleaded guilty to having altered an email used to monitor a former Trump campaign consultant.
However, according to John Ratcliffe, director of the National Intelligence Agency, more may be on the way.
“I think there will be more charges,” Ratcliffe told Fox Business in October. “Based on the intelligence information I have access to, I believe there should be further indictments.”
Here’s who might be under investigation in Durham’s ongoing review.
Comey served as FBI Director during the 2016 election and transition, and approved the initiation of the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the links between Russia and members of Trump’s campaign, which was called the “Crossfire Hurricane.
Comey has been criticized for inaccuracies and omissions in the warrants the FBI used to monitor members of Trump’s team, including former campaign consultant Carter Page. A 2019 report by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice found that the FISA surveillance of Page – a key part of Crossfire Hurrican – was based on FBI requests that omitted information that would tend to exonerate Page.
Comey told Face the Nation of CBS earlier this year that he “could not imagine” that he was a target of the investigation and that he had had no contact with Durham.
McCabe served as Deputy Director of the FBI during the 2016 election and briefly headed the office after Comey was fired in the spring of 2017. McCabe opened the counterintelligence and obstruction of justice investigations against Trump after Comey left office for fear that he would soon be fired.
McCabe was fired in March 2018 because of an FBI watchdog report that found he had leaked information to reporters and misled investigators about his actions. McCabe said he had been targeted for the Russia probe and was wrongfully dismissed.
Last year, right-wing commentator Mark Levin claimed that McCabe had been offered a deal in the criminal case by Durham, which he declined. McCabe’s attorney responded to Levin’s claim by telling the Washington investigator that the claim was “100% false.
Page served as FBI counsel in his office as General Counsel. Page resigned from the FBI in 2018 after a 2016 text exchange with his FBI colleague Peter Strzok, who criticized Trump, came to light.
According to the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on Hurricane Crossfire Hurricane, Page “served as a liaison between the investigation team and McCabe, and she also regularly attended team meetings and participated in the decision-making process of the investigation.
Priestap, the former head of FBI counterintelligence, had a supervisory role over the investigation in Russia.
This summer, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he was told by current FBI Director Christopher Wray that Priestap had provided misleading information to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2018 about the reliability of Christopher Steele’s dossier. Graham said he would refer Priestap and other information he had received in this matter to Durham.
The New York Times reported last year that Durham’s investigation “seemed at one point to focus on Mr. Strzok. Strzok, the former deputy of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, opened the investigation in Russia in July 2016 after receiving information from the Australian government that the Russians had offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton to a Trump campaign consultant.
Strzok was released from the FBI in 2018 after the text messages that Trump exchanged with FBI lawyer Page, denigrating the Trump, came to light. In one exchange, Strzok described Trump as “terrible” and “an idiot.
The text messages raised suspicions of bias, which played a major role in the investigation of Russia. Strzok defended the work of the FBI, and the Inspector General of the DOJ found no evidence of political bias when the Presidium opened an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign despite “serious performance failures.