WASHINGTON — Under the leadership of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Republicans have started an investigatory committee to dig into the Justice Department investigations into Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 attack. But after recent reports that former special counsel John Durham and former Attorney General Bill Barr were desperate to uncover corruption in Robert Mueller's probe, Democrats are looking for accountability too.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has announced that under his chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he intends to investigate the Justice Department's actions under Barr and specifically the Durham probe.
A New York Times report last week revealed that Durham was told by Barr to find flaws in the Mueller probe. He never did.
"Egged on by Mr. Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr set out in 2019 to dig into their shared theory that the Russia investigation likely stemmed from a conspiracy by intelligence or law enforcement agencies," the report said. "But after almost four years — far longer than the Russia investigation itself — Mr. Durham’s work is coming to an end without uncovering anything like the deep state plot alleged by Mr. Trump and suspected by Mr. Barr."
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Meanwhile, Durham spent at least $6.5 million of taxpayer dollars, including an all-expenses paid trip to Italy, with Barr, where they found no evidence of a conspiracy by Mueller, but did find Italian concerns about Trump financial fraud. Barr claimed that the tips on "suspicious financial dealings" weren't directly about Trump." According to cited reporter Daniel Chaitin, Barr swore "it did have a relationship to the Russiagate stuff. It was not completely separate from it. And it turned out to be a complete non-issue,
"They clearly had a political agenda that they were executing and I don't know how this story is going to end but there are a lot of big questions," Durbin told Raw Story. "Understand, the special counsel's work was limited access to evidence... so we're not going to make any predictions on hearings."
He refused to answer whether the committee intends to bring Durham in to testify.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told Raw Story that he sees where Durbin is coming from, "because the Durham investigation was, indeed, the weaponization of the Justice Department against an effort to hold a Republican accountable for his crimes. And that New York Times reporter was astonishing in showing the lengths to which Attorney General Barr was willing to go to thwart the Mueller investigation and accountability for Trump."
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He went on to say that it's unfortunate because of the Trump years there are investigations of investigations of investigations and so on. "All of it built on the criminality of one guy and the paranoid conspiracy theories that his supporters are willing to build up around him," he said.
The House Oversight Committee, on which Raskin serves as the top Democrat, is the committee behind the so-called "government weaponization committee." Raskin said that if they were a "real thing" that they would be investigating "the FBI agent [Charlie] McGonigal who was on the take from a Russian oligarch while he was supposed to be investigating Russian maligned influence in America. I mean, that's what the Oversight Committee should be doing. That's what the Judiciary Committee should be doing. They should all be focused on the astonishing fact that the leading FBI agent in charge of investigating Russia's political disinformation in America was on the Russian payroll for the Russians. And there's absolute silence from our GOP colleagues on it.
He went on to say that the Republicans have never "seriously reckoned with their submission to Donald Trump and they will continue on a path of absolute derangement and political falling. And we're seeing that on the Oversight Committee." Raskin argued that it's also how Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has "surrendered" his authority "to the MAGA-right" in the GOP.
With additional reporting by Matt Laslo