US Politics

Justice Department Spygate Review Turns Into Criminal Investigation: Reports

The Justice Departments internal review of spying on the Trump campaign has evolved into a criminal investigation, according to anonymous sources who spoke to the Associated Press and The New York Times.

Attorney General William Barr assigned U.S. Attorney John Durham on May 13 to review the origins of the Obama administrations counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

The designation as a formal criminal investigation gives Durhams team the ability to issue subpoenas, impanel a grand jury, compel witnesses to give testimony and bring federal criminal charges.

It is unclear what potential crimes are being investigated and when the inquiry turned into a criminal one.

Top Obama-administration officials were involved in several forms of spying on the Trump campaign, including the use of a maximally intrusive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant of Trump-campaign associate Carter Page. The government also deployed at least two spies and used intelligence collected by overseas sources.

The FBIs counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began in late July of 2016 and eventually evolved into Robert Muellers special counsel probe. Peter Strzok, the agent who led the FBI probe, sent messages expressing animus against Trump, spoke of stopping Trump from becoming president, mentioned an insurance policy in case Trump was elected, and mentioned impeachment shortly after joining the Mueller team.

Mueller concluded the Russia investigation earlier this year, finding insufficient evidence to establish that anyone colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Durhams inquiry spans across several countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia. The official rationale for opening the investigation of the Trump campaign, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, involved people and events in all three countries.

John Brennan, the CIA Director at the time of the Crossfire Hurricane probe, confirmed early this month that he was to be interviewed by Durham. Brennan told lawmakers in 2017 that intelligence he received from overseas sources was used to start Crossfire Hurricane.

The Justice Department has said Trump recently made several calls at Barrs request to foreign leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to help the attorney general with the Durham investigation.

Barr also traveled with Durham to Italy in August and September, and the two met with Italian intelligence officials to seek information about the activities of FBI agents assigned there, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said on Oct. 23.

The Justice Department recently obtained two cellphones formally owned by Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor who played a crucial role in the events which led to the Russia investigation.

Mifsuds lawyer, Stephan Roh, confirmed tRead More – Source

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