President Trump speaks out against Mueller probe as Barr assigns investigator

Attorney General William Barr appears at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

Attorney General William Barr appears at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

Durham was appointed by Attorney General William Barr to examine the origins of the Russian Federation investigation, and to probe "all intelligence collection activities" related to the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Barr recently appointed USA attorney John Durham to examine the special counsel's intelligence collecting methods to determine whether they were "lawful and appropriate".

Barr has chosen CT U.S. Attorney John Durham to head the review into whether there was improper spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person could not discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.

President Donald Trump nominated Durham to his current position as the CT U.S. attorney in 2017.

The president reiterated his view that he was the victim of a "hoax" while speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, and praised Barr for his willingness to take a closer look at the FBI counterintelligence probe into his 2016 campaign that ended up becoming a special counsel investigation.

He said he would like to see a thorough investigation of how Justice Department and FBI officials presented information to the FISA court, and also how the FISA court justified granting some of the warrants on Trump campaign associates, primarily Carter Page. Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and the Kremlin.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT on Tuesday called Durham, who is a federal prosecutor for CT, a "talented professional. a straight-shooting serious, smart prosecutor" who is being wasted in a "politically-motivated distraction".

"I think spying did occur", Barr told a Senate committee last month. "I think spying did occur", he said.

Mr. Durham, who was nominated by Mr. Trump in 2017 and has been a Justice Department lawyer since 1982, has conducted special investigations under administrations of both parties.

Last week, the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, defended the bureau, saying he was unaware of any illegal surveillance and refused to call agents' work "spying".

To maintain Bulger's "cover" Robert Mueller, then with the FBI, allowed four men - later declared innocent by a federal judge - to remain in prison, two until their deaths.

Barr has said publicly he planned to review how the Russian Federation probe was started.

Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency videotapes and the Boston FBI office's relationship with mobsters.

The former attorney general Jeff Sessions had appointed another USA attorney, John Huber, in March 2018 to review aspects of the Russian Federation investigation, following grievances from Republican lawmakers.

In November 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed John Huber, the USA attorney in Utah, to work with Horowitz to determine whether or not allegations of FISA abuse warrant investigation.

"We're not confirming, denying, or commenting at all on this", said Durham spokesman Thomas Carson. "It's a waste of his talent", Blumenthal said.

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