Dec 11, 2019 - Politics & Policy

DOJ inspector general says he was "surprised" Durham disputed Russia probe findings

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said at a hearing Wednesday that he was "surprised" that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who has been tasked by Attorney General Bill Barr with investigating the origins of the Russia probe, issued a statement on Monday disputing some of the conclusions of his report.

"I was surprised by the statement. I didn't necessarily know it was going to be released on Monday. We did meet with Mr. Durham, as I mentioned. ... We did discuss the opening issue. He said he did not necessarily agree with our conclusion about the opening of a full counterintelligence investigation, which is what this was.
"He said during the meeting that the information from the friendly foreign government was, in his view, sufficient to support the preliminary investigation. And as we note in the report, investigative steps such as confidential human source activity that occurred here are allowed under a preliminary investigation or full investigation."

Why it matters: Durham's statement that he did not agree with "some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened" was met with criticism by many observers, who argued that it was inappropriate for a prosecutor to comment on an ongoing criminal investigation.

  • Barr defended Durham's statement in an interview with NBC, claiming, "I think it was sort of being reported by the press that the issue of predication was sort of done and over. Even though it was a very limited look at that issue by the IG ... I think it was important for people to understand that, you know, Durham's work was not being preempted."

Go deeper: Read Horowitz's opening statement

Go deeper