Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that the U.S. attorney conducting a criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence operation against the 2016 Trump campaign is also eying “private actors.”
In an interview with Fox News, Barr said the attorney, John Durham, is conducting a very broad investigation into whether the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe was legitimate.
He’s not just looking at the FBI,” . “He’s looking at other agencies and departments and also private actors. So it’s a much broader investigation.”
Barr’s comments come on the heels of a report released by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that found the FBI committed 17 serious errors when filing affidavits with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to secure warrants to spy on a member of the 2016 Trump campaign, Carter Page.
At least one of those errors, according to reports, may have involved criminal fraud against the FISA court, committed by an FBI lawyer who allegedly hid information that would have exonerated Page.
As to the private actors who may be under investigation by Durham, they could include former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, whose opposition research dossier played a central role in the FBI’s decision to seek surveillance warrants against Page.
Also, The Epoch Times reported, it was Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign that financed the dossier by funneling money through a law firm, Perkins Coie.
The firm that commissioned the dossier, Fusion GPS, could also be a target of the Durham probe, the paper reported.
Horowitz’s administrative review was limited to the officials at the FBI and the Justice Department, and since IG’s do not have subpoena power, he could not compel any witnesses to talk to him.
Durham does, however, and his probe extends to other agencies, including the CIA, and includes at least one criminal case.
“He is not just looking at the FISA aspect of it. He is looking at all the conduct both before and after the election,” Barr said.
Barr and Durham both issued statements on Dec. 9 in response to the inspector general’s FISA report. Barr said the report exposed “malfeasance and misfeasance,” which reflected “a clear abuse of the FISA process.”
Durham said he disagreed with Horowitz’s conclusion that the start of the investigation of the Trump campaign was based on sufficient evidence.