Four of the most powerful Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Friday requested that Department of Justice inspector general Michael Horowitz launch an "emergency investigation" into Attorney General Bill Barr's probe of the actions American intelligence officials took during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The letter -- which was signed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), House Oversight Committee Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and House Administration Committee Chairman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) -- specifically asks Horowitz to see if Barr has the legal authority to demand the probe release an "interim" report before the election, even if the investigation itself has not been completed.
"Attorney General Barr has signaled repeatedly that he is likely to allow DOJ to take prosecutorial actions, make public disclosures, and even issue reports before the presidential election in November," they write. "Such actions clearly appear intended to benefit President Trump politically. Specifically, Attorney General Barr has indicated that he would consider taking such steps in the Durham investigation -- including the issuance of a report or other summary -- within 60 days of the upcoming election."
The four Democrats then cited the recent resignation of Assistant U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy from the probe, reportedly because she felt pressured to produce an interim report ahead of the election, as cause for alarm.
"Few actions would prove more damaging to public confidence in the integrity of the DOJ and our democratic process than the perception that federal prosecutorial power can be used to prejudice a pending investigation or influence an upcoming election," they conclude. "As such, we believe it is imperative that this matter be immediately investigated, that you inform our Committees of your decision to open an investigation, and that you report the results promptly to our Committees."