United States Attorney General William Barr has appointed John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, to review the origins of the Russia investigation into interference in the 2016 presidential election and the FBI’s surveillance activities.
Durham has been assigned to conduct the inquiry into allegations of misconduct and improper surveillance of President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election. The concerns were first raised in congressional testimony following the release of Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia probe.
"I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that's all," Barr said at the time. I just want to satisfy myself that there were no abuse of law enforcement or intelligence powers. I'm not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it's important to look at that. And I'm not just talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.”
Last month, Barr said that he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign three years ago, though he’s offered no details about what “spying” may have taken place.
According to reports, Durham has been working with Barr for “at least a couple weeks” to determine whether federal agencies proceeded properly in the early stages of the Russia investigation that led to Mueller’s much-anticipated report.
The president has been calling for an examination into the probe for months, calling it a “witch hunt” and “politically motivated.”
This isn’t Durham’s first foray as a special prosecutor. He has previously investigated the FBI’s ties to a crime boss in Boston and alleged abuse by the CIA of detainees. He was appointed as a U.S. Attorney by Trump in 2017. When he was nominated, the White House said that Durham shares Trump’s vision for “making America safe again.” The Senate confirmed his nomination on Feb. 16 last year.
Durham has served as an Instructor in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of New Haven, as a Moot Court Judge at the Yale School of Law, and as a lecturer for the Connecticut Bar Association. He graduated from College University in 1972 and the UConn School of Law three years later. He’s been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in various positions in Connecticut for 35 years.
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