WASHINGTON – John Durham, the federal prosecutor responsible for investigating the origins of the Russia probe, presented evidence to a grand jury as part of his probe, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The development is a potential sign that Durham may be considering additional criminal charges beyond the one he brought last year against a former FBI lawyer who admitted to modifying an email regarding a Trump campaign aide who had been under FBI surveillance. Durham is also expected to complete a report at some point.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Friday that Durham was presenting evidence to a grand jury and considering possible charges against some FBI employees and others outside of government. A person familiar with the case, who was not authorized to discuss it by name and spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Durham’s use of the grand jury to The Associated Press.
Durham was appointed to the post in 2019 by then Attorney General William Barr, with a mandate to examine how the FBI and the intelligence community set out to investigate Russian interference in the U.S. election in 2016 and potential coordination with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. His team interviewed a wide range of Justice Department and intelligence community officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan.
The Durham investigation joins a separate investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, who released a December 2019 report finding significant errors and omissions in FBI applications to monitor communications from the former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The report found no evidence that the actions of FBI or Justice Department officials were motivated by partisan bias.
Weeks before his resignation as attorney general, Barr appointed Durham – who for years served as a U.S. attorney in Connecticut – as special adviser, a move designed to give him additional protection to complete his work under the ‘Biden administration.
One of the areas of focus of the Durham investigation has been the FBI’s reliance on anti-Trump research by former British spy Christopher Steele, which US officials have cited in requests addressed to a secret surveillance court for warrants to monitor Page’s communications.
The Brookings Institution has confirmed that it received a subpoena from Durham last December 31 for files and other information relating to a former employee – a Russian analyst who served as a source of information for Steele and who was later questioned by the FBI .
Durham also looked into whether anyone presented the U.S. government with information they knew was false about potential ties between Alfa Bank, a private commercial bank in Russia, and a Trump campaign server, according to the person familiar with the matter. . “The FBI investigated but found there were no cybernetic links, according to the Inspector General’s report.
Alfa Bank, meanwhile, alleged in a Florida court lawsuit that it was the target of “highly sophisticated cyber attacks” in 2016 and 2017, and also the victim of a disinformation campaign aimed at publicly linking and wrong the bank to the Trump campaign. Durham’s line of inquiry resembles the claims in this lawsuit, the person said.
Last August, Durham announced a plea deal with Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI attorney who admitted to forging an email about Page as the FBI renewed its requests to eavesdrop on Page under Foreign Affairs. Intelligence Surveillance Act. Clinesmith was sentenced to probation.