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DOJ taps former Mueller prosecutor to run foreign lobbying unit

DOJ taps former Mueller prosecutor to run foreign lobbying unit

A former member of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE's special counsel investigation will reportedly head up a new effort at the Justice Department (DOJ) to pursue violations laws governing lobbying for foreign countries.

CNN reported Wednesday that Brandon Van Grack, who left the special counsel's office in October, will head a division of DOJ prosecutors dealing exclusively with Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) violations, according to John Demers, head of the DOJ's national security division.

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Demers made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference on efforts to combat white-collar crime, according to CNN, adding that the DOJ would shift "from treating FARA as an administrative obligation and regulatory obligation to one that is increasingly an enforcement priority."

He added during the conference that the Justice Department is considering asking Congress for subpoena power for FARA investigations, which the department currently does not have.

"That's something that we're taking a hard look at," Demers said, according to CNN.

Van Grack left the investigation into President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE's campaign and Russian election interference last year, but a spokesman for the special counsel's office told The Hill at the time that he would continue to work "on specific pending matters that were assigned to him during his detail," without providing further information.

Trump's campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortTreasury: Manafort associate passed 'sensitive' campaign data to Russian intelligence Hunter Biden blasts Trump in new book: 'A vile man with a vile mission' Prosecutors drop effort to seize three Manafort properties after Trump pardon MORE, was caught up in violation of FARA and pled guilty to acting as an unregistered agent of Ukraine along with numerous other charges.

Criminal prosecutions under FARA are rare. The Justice Department inspector general released a report in 2016 that concluded that the DOJ lacked a “comprehensive” strategy to enforce the law.