BFF-06 US Justice Dept opens criminal inquiry into Russia investigation: report





US Justice Dept opens criminal inquiry into Russia investigation: report

WASHINGTON, Oct 25, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – The Justice Department has opened a
criminal inquiry into the Russia investigation that examined whether Donald
Trump colluded with Moscow during the 2016 presidential election, US media
reported on Thursday.

Justice Department officials have switched an administrative review of the
investigation, overseen by Attorney General William Barr, to a criminal
inquiry, The New York Times said, citing two sources close to the matter.

The move gives lead prosecutor John Durham, the US attorney for
Connecticut, the power convene a grand jury, file criminal charges and issue
subpoenas for witness testimony and documents.

The decision to open the inquiry means that the Justice Department is
essentially conducting a criminal investigation into itself, though it is not
clear what potential crime is being investigated, nor when the criminal
inquiry began, the Times added.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation since it began in
2016, denying allegations of collusion and accusing those involved of

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, published in March, did support
the president’s repeated assertions that he never colluded with Russian
intelligence efforts to tilt the 2016 election in his favor.

However, the report — based on nearly two years of interviews by Mueller’s
team with Trump’s inner circle — emphasized that, contrary to the Republican
president’s claim, he was not cleared of obstruction of justice.

BSS/AFP/GMR/0925 hrs