'This is what the Framers feared': legal scholars say Barr's investigation of the Russia probe is politically motivated
Attorney General William Barr. (Screenshot/YouTube)

In the wake of bombshell news reports that the Justice Department is now investigating the origins of Mueller's Russia probe as a criminal matter, some legal experts are speaking out on what they see as the politicization of the nation's highest law enforcement agency, Law&Crime reports.

The probe, led by U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham, is an outright violation of the Constitution, according to criminal defense attorney and legal commentator Tor Ekeland.

“DOJ’s criminal investigation of the Russia investigation is precisely what the Framers feared would happen if the federal government was given a general federal police power, and why the Framers kept that power out of the original Constitution,” he told Law&Crime. “Because they feared it would be used for political prosecutions, of which the current example is but one of a long line going back to DOJ’s inception.”

Ekeland went on to say that although politicization of the Justice Department is nothing new, the move by Attorney General Bill Barr is a "particularly blatant example of a politically motivated criminal investigation, and as such is dangerous as it is brazen."

"It’s indicative of a high level of cynical erosion of the respect for the rule of law," Ekeland said. "A respect that our system requires to avoid devolution into the ruthless power conflicts of mere anarchy."

According to Ekeland, there's a crucial question not being asked in press reports on the story: what's the crime that the DOJ is investigating? "The fact that you can’t name one demonstrates that this is political theater and has nothing to do with justice."

Also speaking out was former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, who spent 21 years investigating organized crime.

“Pre-2020, Barr/Durham will at least issue a ‘report’ attacking U.S. intel the idea that [Russia] attacked [the US election] in 2016,” she tweeted this Thursday.

Legal scholar Lawrence Tribe also spoke to Law&Crime, saying that Barr's probe could be a tactic to distract from the Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

“Durham’s reputation is very solid, but then so was Barr‘s before he came into the Trump orbit. In any event, it’s hard for me to imagine what federal crime Barr purports to be investigating,” Tribe said. “It looks very much like this is simply a way of giving President Trump some talking points about the Russia probe being under criminal investigation.”