The US Department of Justice has opened a criminal case based on an administrative investigation into the origins of the investigation into Russian interference. The New York Times reported on Thursday evening, citing several sources.
According to the New York Times, it would allow attorney John Durham, the lead in the case, to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony, determine the composition of the Grand jury and bring criminal charges.
The transfer of the case from the administrative to the criminal plane creates an unusual precedent: the Ministry of justice investigates a criminal case against its own Department.
The NYT does not know what potential crimes Prosecutor Durham is investigating in the course of this case, as well as possible motives that guided the justice Department in opening a criminal case. The official representative of the Ministry of Justice refused to answer questions of the edition.
Attorney General William Barr opened an administrative investigation earlier this year to investigate President Donald Trump’s complaints that his campaign headquarters was improperly targeted by US intelligence and security agencies during the 2016 election.
Democrats and some former law enforcement officials believe that Barr is using the Justice Department to confirm unfounded conspiracy theories that could benefit the President and undermine the credibility of the results of the Russian investigation conducted by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
As part of the administrative investigation, Barr asked his colleagues in Australia and the UK for help. The Attorney General also visited Italy twice, in August and September, meeting with intelligence agents in Rome to get more information about the defendants in the Mueller investigation.