The United States Attorney from Connecticut has been chosen to probe the origins of the Russia investigation.
John Durham was tapped by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate whether intelligence gathering involving the Trump campaign was lawful and appropriate.
The U.S. Department of Justice has declined to comment on the appointment, as has Durham himself. But, Liam Brennan is concerned that this could be a politically motivated investigation. He’s a former federal prosecutor from Connecticut and has sought advice from Durham in the past.
“This is highly unusual to look at the roots of the investigation, particularly when it has shown significant evidence of Russian interference with the American election, of obstruction of justice, and false statements by a number of individuals,” Brennan said. “Why would we even be questioning how a successful investigation began in the first place?"
However, he does have confidence in Durham. "If you were to get anyone to look at that and you wanted that person to fair, I believe John Durham is probably the best thing we could hope for," he said.
Deirdre Daly, a former U.S. Attorney appointed by Barack Obama, agreed that this is an unusual investigation, but also that Durham is the right person to take a look.
She said that Durham – who’s been a lawyer in the Justice Department since 1982 -- has a “tremendous” background as a prosecutor.
“He’s also been tapped in the past by both Democratic and Republican administrations by the Department of Justice to do sensitive, complex, significant investigations,” Daly said. “He’s independent, he’s tireless and he’s very, very experienced so I think in many ways it’s a natural choice.”
Brennan, the former assistant U.S. attorney, recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times where he criticized President Donald Trump for his assertion that the FBI was spying on campaign officials when it investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“Ten years in the Department of Justice, I never heard of predicated search warrants, wire taps, or informants being called spying,” Brennan said. “These are investigative techniques that are used when there is predication.”
Brennan includes Attorney General Barr in his criticism because he said that Barr hasn’t gone out of his way to dismiss the spying claim.
“The Attorney General said in his congressional testimony that he’s unaware of any other presidential campaign that has ever been surveilled in this manner,” Brennan said. “That may be the case, but we have only have had 45 presidents in our history and we have only had 58 presidential campaigns so that is a very small sample set to use.”
The U.S. Department of Justice inspector general’s office is already conducting a similar investigation.