Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report

Federal prosecutors interviewed multiple FBI officials for Russia probe review: report
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Federal prosecutors who are looking into the origins of the government's Russia probe have interviewed about two dozen people, suggesting that the inquiry is further along than previously known, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The prosecutors have asked witnesses about whether former FBI officials that have been frequent targets of President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE hold anti-Trump bias, former officials and others familiar with the review told the Times.

U.S. Attorney John DurhamJohn DurhamJim Comey's damaging legacy at the FBI must be undone Federal prosecutor looking into Brennan's role in Russian interference findings: report The Hill's Morning Report - Vulnerable Dems are backing Trump impeachment MORE, who is leading the investigation, has not interviewed all of the FBI officials who were instrumental in opening the Russia probe in 2016, sources told the newspaper.

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Durham has reportedly not spoken with former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyNYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info Bernie-Hillary echoes seen in Biden-Sanders primary fight Rosenstein on his time in Trump administration: 'We got all the big issues right' MORE, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe accuses Trump officials of withholding evidence in lawsuit over firing McCabe: Being accused of treason by Trump 'quite honestly terrifying' Horowitz report is damning for the FBI and unsettling for the rest of us MORE or former FBI General Counsel James Baker.

According to the Times, the moves suggest Durham may still be gathering facts before speaking with those key players.

Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanFederal prosecutor looking into Brennan's role in Russian interference findings: report FISA court's rebuke of the FBI: It broke or ignored the rules and our rights Where was American counterintelligence? MORE told NBC News that Durham has expressed plans to question current and former intelligence officials including Brennan himself and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump predicts 'historic' conclusions from DOJ's watchdog report on 'spying' The curious timeline for taking down Trump Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward MORE

The news outlet also reported, citing three former CIA officials, that the prosecutor is asking to speak with CIA analysts who were involved with Russia-related assessments and that some of the analysts have hired attorneys. 

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrParnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' Parnas says he's speaking out because of betrayal from associates: 'I felt like my family left me' Overnight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon MORE, who is overseeing the review, has said he wants to learn whether the collection of intelligence on the Trump campaign had a sufficient basis.

Critics view the Justice Department investigation as an effort by the Trump administration to undermine the intelligence community's findings on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

Durham's review was not opened as a criminal investigation, meaning that the prosecutor is not able to subpoena witnesses or documents, although the Times reported that it is not clear whether the investigation's status has changed. 

A law enforcement official told NBC that Durham has expanded his staff and the time frame of his investigation. A Trump administration official reportedly said that the probe is now going beyond Trump's 2017 inauguration. 

The Times reported that at one point, Strzok, who opened the Russia inquiry after a tip by the Australian government, was the focus of the current review. Investigators reportedly asked about the tip, which said that Russia had offered information on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE to the Trump campaign. 

Durham also reportedly asked witnesses about Christopher Steele, a former British spy who had compiled a dossier of allegations about Trump that was used to obtain a warrant application that ended up permitting the FBI to wiretap a member of the Trump campaign in 2016.  

One former official said that he rebuked the idea that officials sought to damage Trump's candidacy, the Times reported.

The person reportedly contrasted the public handling of the investigation into Clinton's emails in 2016 with the secret investigation into the Trump campaign before the election.

A spokesman for Durham declined to comment to The Hill on Saturday. The FBI also declined to comment. 

Updated: 12:35 p.m.