Justice Department reportedly shifts its administrative review over the Russia investigation and its origins to one of a criminal inquiry
According to two people familiar with the matter, the Justice Department has reportedly shifted its administrative review over the Russia investigation and its origins to one of a criminal inquiry. The shift in the probe, which began in May and has been closely overseen by Attorney General WIlliam P. Barr, will allow the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, “to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury, and to file criminal charges,” (NBC News, 2019). It remains unclear when the change occurred. ~
The Russia investigation, which was based on an investigation carried out by former special counsel Robert Mueller and his team from May 2017 to March 2019 and officially titled “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election,” was an investigation inquiring about Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election, President Trump’s ties to Russian conspiracy, and allegations of obstruction of justice against Mr. Trump. According to Mr. Mueller’s public testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in July, and other experts who have analyzed the report’s findings, the mueller report states that Russia did interfere with the 2016 election, but “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple efforts from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.” The report did, however, find 10 instances in which Trump could have obstructed justice, but Mueller states that he was unable to come to a conclusion on the matter. ~
According to NBC, the change in the probe may align with the ideas of many Republicans who have questioned the integrity of the Mueller report and the processes in which it was carried out. Many Republicans have suggested that the Russia investigation was stemmed unjustly, and President Trump has repeatedly used the term “witch hunt” when describing the Mueller report. Democrats, on the other hand, have deemed the opening of a criminal investigation as a means by President Trump to use the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. ~
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