The importance of officials who consider Durham's search as "criminal" is hard to determine for themselves. The appointment of Durham was notable because, unlike the Inspector General, he is a federal prosecutor who has the opportunity to convoke a large jury that can force witnesses to testify or prosecute for crimes if Durham deems it necessary.
It was not immediately clear that considering his work as a criminal by the officials was a shift in the severity of his investigations or whether a large jury had been called. Persons who were familiar with the probe refused to say when exactly the officials named it, what specific crimes or individuals Durham committed, or what evidence he found. They spoke like others in this story, under the condition of anonymity, to talk about an ongoing investigation.
Federal prosecution generally needs an indication that a crime has been committed to initiate a criminal investigation ̵
1; although the standard is low. and the decision is not reviewed by a court.
FBI and Ministry of Justice spokesmen declined to comment on Meadows (RN.C.) tweeted .
The president's opponents argued that development showed that Durham's work had been politicized. In recent months, Trump and Barr have made efforts to persuade other countries to cooperate in the prosecutor's investigation.
"These reports raise profound new concerns, if any, that the Justice Department under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump's political revenge," said Jerry Nadler (DN.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee in a joint statement. "If the Ministry of Justice is used as an instrument of political retaliation or in support of the President in a political narrative for the next elections, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage."
The Washington Post reported last Barr traveled overseas for a month to personalize British and Italian intelligence officials. Trump also urged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to support the Justice Department's investigation.
In Italy, people familiar with the matter questioned intelligence officials about Joseph Mifsud, a mysterious European professor Some conservatives have adopted an unproven theory that Mifsud was working to set up the Trump campaign when he bragged about campaign advisor George Papadopoulos with "dirt." Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of e-mails" – before Russia's hacker attack on Democrats became public knowledge. When the FBI heard about this conversation a few months later, it initiated a case.
Papadopoulos claimed that Mifsud was "an Italian intelligence asset armed by the CIA." However, Italian officials told Barr that they were not involved in the case.
In May, Trump ordered the US intelligence services to cooperate in the investigation of the Russia probe by the Ministry of Justice. Durham has interviewed some of those involved in the investigation – though he has not yet spoken to many who appear to be key players.
Former CIA director John Brennan recently told NBC News that Durham had expressed his intention to interview him and A. Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice, Michael Horowitz, has completed his investigation into the case of Russia, and his report is reviewed by Barr and others to determine what can be published publicly. On Thursday, Horowitz told lawmakers that the review was "close to completion" and he did not expect to have to submit both a classified and an unclassified version of his report. Inspectors often remit their work to the Federal Prosecutor's Office to conduct their own investigations and to determine whether criminal offenses have been committed.