A report published Friday claimed that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing criminal investigation into the origins of the ‘Russian collusion’ probe of President Trump’s 2016 campaign is examining whether Obama-era intelligence officials hid or manipulated evidence.
According to The New York Times, which cited unnamed government officials, Durham “may have come to view with suspicion several clashes between analysts at different intelligence agencies over who could see each other’s highly sensitive secrets.”
“Mr. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the C.I.A., under its former director John O. Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal,” the report said.
President Trump has long claimed that the Obama administration’s probe into his 2016 campaign was politically motivated and not based on any real intelligence that he was “colluding” with Moscow to “steal” the election from Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
A report by former special counsel Robert Mueller supported the president’s contention when his investigators said they found no evidence of any such collusion.
As for Durham, initially he was ordered by Attorney General William Barr to simply review the Obama administration’s justification for launching a counterintelligence operation that led to spying on one Trump campaign official, Carter Page.
A Justice Department inspector general report released in December found that FBI agents had improperly obtained FISA court warrants to spy on Page at least twice.
Last fall, Durham and Barr announced that the inquiry had turned into a criminal investigation, hinting that some evidence of alleged wrongdoing was uncovered.
The Times noted that while some are skeptical of Durham’s investigation, others are not because he has a long track record of investigating law enforcement and intelligence agencies under both Democrat and Republican administrations.
The Times further noted that one of the things that Durham is looking at is how the intelligence community came up with its “analytical judgments — including its assessment that Russia was not merely sowing discord, but specifically sought to help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.”
Also, The Times reported that the investigation is looking at multiple communications between different intelligence agencies that involve several different incidents that happened.