Attorney General William Barr appointed a U.S. attorney to look into the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence collection “lawful and appropriate,” an insider told The Associated Press on Monday.
Connecticut US Attorney, John Durham, has been appointed to conduct the inquiry, the person said, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity.
The inquiry comes just weeks after Barr told members of Congress he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016. He later said he was gathering a team to look into the origins of the special counsel’s investigation. President Trump said he felt James Comey and the FBI did spy on his campaign.
The inquiry will focus on whether the FBI broke the law with their methods of collecting information. The Inspector General is also examining the Russia probe’s origins and Barr has said he expects the watchdog report to be done in May or June.
Congressional Republicans indicated they intend to examine how the investigation that shadowed Trump’s presidency for nearly two years began and whether there are any legal concerns regarding the way it was conducted.
The recently released results of the investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller did not find any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Durham is a career prosecutor was tapped by Bill Clinton’s justice department in the 1990’s to investigate Boston police and FBI agents’ connections with infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger. That investigation ultimately identified corrupt law enforcement officials who had given the killer information he then used to kill informants and eventually led to Bulger’s conviction.
Trump appointed Durham to the US Attorney position in 2018. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
At the time, Connecticut’s two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, called Durham a “fierce, fair prosecutor” who knows how to try tough cases.