DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT
Justice Department officials are investigating whether the CIA during the Obama administration withheld information in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to The New York Times.
John H. Durham, the prosecutor examining the case, is reportedly pursuing a lead that former CIA director John Brennan was trying to steer the Russia investigation in a particular direction and withheld information from other agencies to achieve that goal.
Officials from the FBI and NSA, however, have told Durham that the theory is incorrect and misrepresents how the intelligence community functions, the Times reported.
Durham has not interviewed former FBI Director James Comey or former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. He also has not interviewed Brennan, though he has requested his emails, according to the Times.
“It’s kind of silly,” Brennan said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” Thursday evening. “Is there a criminal investigation now on analytic judgments and the activities of CIA in terms of trying to protect our national security? I’m certainly willing to talk to Mr. Durham or anybody else who has any questions about what we did during this period of 2016.”
“I think it’s kind of silly … Clearly it’s another indication that Donald Trump is using the DOJ to go after his enemies in any way he can.”@JohnBrennan on the DOJ inquiry into the Russia investigation. #Hardball pic.twitter.com/1NkTIHciJN
— Hardball (@hardball) February 14, 2020
The report from Times comes after all four federal prosecutors involved in the case of Roger Stone, a convicted former Trump campaign adviser, left the case after their sentence recommendation was later reduced by the Justice Department.
“It clearly, I think, is another indication that Donald Trump is using the Department of Justice to go after his enemies any way he can,” Brennan added on MSNBC.
Trump has previously questioned the American intelligence community. In January 2017, after the intelligence community determined Russian agents interfered with the 2016 election, Trump said “I don’t see any reason why” Russia would have interfered in the election.
Retired Adm. Mike Rogers, who was head of the NSA at the time, was interviewed last summer and last fall about a slight difference in opinion the NSA had with the other two agencies on Russian interference, the Times reported. Durham has since used that to poke a hole in the legitimacy of the investigation.
“I wouldn’t call it a discrepancy, I’d call it an honest difference of opinion between three different organizations, and, in the end, I made that call,” Rogers told the Senate in May 2017. “It didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.”
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