Late Thursday night, The New York Times reported that the Department of Justice’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe has turned into a criminal investigation.
Attorney General William Barr launched the investigation in May to look into allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign was illegally targeted by the DOJ. Barr appointed well-respected U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead the investigation.
News of the transition from an administrative review to a criminal investigation comes shortly after DOJ Inspector Michael Horowitz announced that the findings of his investigation into allegations that the FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign will be released shortly.
Appearing on “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said he thinks Horowitz’s report will explain why Durham’s probe has become a criminal investigation:
“This is not a coincidence that it’s happening at the same time. Inspector general Michael Horowitz’ report looks into potential FISA abuse.”
Watch his comments below:
It is believed that former FBI Director James Comey could be called to testify about his agency’s decision to launch a counter-intelligence investigation called “Crossfire Hurricane” into the Trump campaign in 2016.
Comey has come under fire for the FBI’s use of the now-infamous Steele Dossier as a justification for Intelligence Surveillance Act applications and renewals. And he has been accused of knowingly misleading the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about having verified the salacious information in the dossier.
Horowitz recently sent a criminal referral to the DOJ over Comey’s decision to leak internal memos on his conversations with Trump in the hope of having a special counsel appointed, though the DOJ declined to prosecute.
The DOJ recently asked several foreign governments for their cooperation in the Durham probe and reports say that Durham’s probe expanded in scope after he uncovered new evidence during a recent trip to Rome, Italy with Barr.
While in Rome, Barr and Durham reportedly viewed a deposition of Joseph Mifsud, the professor who told former Trump aide George Papadopolous that he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
In 2016, Papadopolous reportedly met with a John Mifsud, a Maltese professor, who told the Trump-aide he had “dirt ” on Hillary Clinton. That conversation was conveyed to U.S. officials by an Australian diplomat.
Supporters of the president allege that Mifsud was really an intelligence operative sent to trap Papadopolous to give U.S. intelligence agencies a reason to “spy” on the Trump campaign.
Comey, Brennan, and Clapper were in charge of agencies investigating the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and have denied that any wrong-doing occurred in the course of their agencies’ investigations.