Oct 19, 2019

Investigation into Trump-Russia probe continues to grow

Attorney General Bill Barr on Oct. 3. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

A federal investigation closely supervised by Attorney General William Barr — which aims to inspect origins of the Trump-Russia probe — has interviewed "about two dozen and current F.B.I. officials," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The investigation, which is essentially looking into claims that the FBI's probe into President Trump's 2016 campaign was influenced by anti-Trump sentiments, is further along than previously reported.

The state of play: This is at least the third investigation into the FBI's probe of possible links between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia. Barr appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham to spearhead the current investigation.

  • Durham has not yet interviewed all FBI officials "who played key roles in opening the Russian investigation in the summer of 2016," people familiar with the review told the Times.
  • Durham is also "exploring what role, if any, a number of countries including Ukraine played in the investigation of the Trump campaign," per the Times.
  • Robert Mueller, who served as special counsel for the Russia probe, did not conclude that Trump campaign members colluded with the Russian government, but his report said the president's actions still may have influenced Russian conduct.

The big picture: Trump has continued to fight the Russia probe — which concluded in March. In 2017, Trump reportedly asked then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former NSA Director Michael Rogers to publicly push back on the FBI's probe. Both men refused to comply, per the Washington Post. Rogers later denied those reports.

  • This May, Trump accused FBI officials who investigated possible links between his campaign and Russia of treason.
  • Barr told senators in a March hearing that he believed "spying did occur" through FBI surveillance into the Trump campaign — but clarified that he did not mean to suggest that it was necessarily illegal.

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NYT: Investigation into Trump-Russia probe said to become criminal inquiry

Bill Barr delivers remarks at the Securities and Exchange Commission on Oct. 03. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A federal investigation into the Trump-Russia probe — which is essentially looking into claims that the FBI's probe into President Trump's 2016 campaign was influenced by anti-Trump sentiments — has evolved into a full-fledged criminal inquiry, two people familiar with the matter said, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: The Justice Department's investigation now has the authority "to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges," per the Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

New Mueller documents link Russia probe and impeachment inquiry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Newly released documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation link the Russia probe and the current impeachment inquiry into the president, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Digital news platform BuzzFeed successfully sued for the documents. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort suggested in 2016 that Ukraine could have been responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee instead of Russia, the newly released internal memos show.

Go deeperArrowNov 2, 2019

NYT: Ukraine planned to announce investigations into Russia probe, Bidens

Volodymyr Zelensky at an October press conference in Kiev. Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Ukrainian president's staff planned for him to announce investigations into the Bidens and the origins of the Russia probe in a Sept. 13 interview with CNN host Fareed Zakaria, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: The Trump administration gave Ukraine military aid it had previously withheld two days before the scheduled interview, per the Times. Two U.S. senators reportedly told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in September that only President Trump "could unlock" the $400 million in military aid and "time was running out."

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019