A Justice Department review of the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation is “broad in scope and multifaceted,” and intelligence agencies have already been asked to preserve records and make witnesses available, according to a letter sent to Congress on Monday, June 11.
Attorney General William Barr said last month that he had directed John Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut and a veteran prosecutor, to determine if law enforcement and intelligence authorities engaged in improper surveillance as they investigated the potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election.
“It is now well-established that, in 2016, the U.S. government and others undertook certain intelligence-gathering and investigative steps directed at persons associated with the Trump campaign,” said the letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, the department’s top liaison to Congress.
“As the Attorney General has stated publicly at congressional hearings and elsewhere, there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counterintelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation,” the letter said.
The point of the review, Boyd added, “is to more fully understand the efficacy and propriety of those steps” and to answer open questions for the attorney general.
Barr has repeatedly said he believes there was “spying” on the Trump campaign, while President Donald Trump said that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was a “witch hunt.” Barr has said he doesn’t yet know if the “spying” was improper, but he has been unsatisfied with the answers he has received.
Durham and his team will be working primarily out of Washington, with the Justice Department making existing office space available for the work, Boyd wrote to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The team has already asked that certain intelligence agencies preserve records, make witnesses available, and identify materials that may be relevant for the review.