Fox News reported on Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr had assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to conduct the inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, as well as whether Democrats were the ones who improperly colluded with foreign actors.
Durham, known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor, according to a source, will focus on the period before Nov. 7, 2016—including the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
Barr first announced that he was reviewing the “conduct” of the FBI’s original Russia investigation during the summer of 2016 last month, following calls from Republicans, and President Trump, to investigate the origins of the probe.
“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” Barr testified on April 9.
That same day, Fox News learned that Barr had assembled a “team” to investigate the origins of the investigation. A source told Fox News Tuesday that Durham has been working on the investigation “for weeks,” but it is unclear if he was part of the original team assembled by Barr last month.
The FBI’s July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was opened by former senior agent Peter Strzok. Former FBI counsel Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was romantically involved, revealed during a closed-door congressional interview that the FBI “knew so little” about whether allegations against the Trump campaign were “true or not true,” at the time that they opened the probe, noting that they had just “a paucity of evidence because we are just starting down the path” of vetting the allegations. Page later said that it was “entirely common” that the FBI would begin a counterintelligence investigation with just a “small amount of evidence.”
The FBI, at the time, was led by former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—both fired during the Trump administration.