Attorney General Barr has named U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to head a DOJ investigation into the origins of Russiagate. Durham appears to be an ideal choice. When nominated as U.S. Attorney in 2017, he had the support of both Democratic Senators from the state. He has a career as a prosecutor, which covered a wide range of high-profile cases, from FBI corruption in the "Whitey" Bolger dealings to CIA violations in aggressive interrogations.
Barr rejected the idea of appointing a new special prosecutor, and according to news accounts, this was a good decision. Durham, who has been quietly conducting his probe for weeks, is not restricted by the limited mandates of a special prosecutor. Barr has solicited and gotten cooperation from DNI Coats and CIA Director Haspel to extend the probe into involvement of intelligence officials (Brennan, Clapper and their key aides) in the foisting of the Trump-Russia saga and the obtaining of tainted "evidence" to secure FISA warrants.
Durham will be closely coordinating his investigation with the work of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is nearing completion of his own investigation into DOJ and FBI corruption and political bias in the Trump-Russia probe. In recent meetings with Republican Member of Congress Jim Jordan, Horowitz indicated he was preparing criminal referrals as part of his final report.
U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber was appointed by former Attorney General Sessions to conduct a similar, but more limited probe into FBI and DOJ misconduct in the launching of Trumpgate/Russiagate but Republicans have been frustrated at the lack of progress.
Clearly, there is a good deal more confidence that Durham will go all-out to get to the bottom of the story.
Two recent FOIA cases have shed further light on the ambush of Trump during the final months of the campaign. A State Department deputy to Victoria Nuland met with former MI6 spook Christopher Steele in October 2016, and sent around a note to other State Department officials indicating Steele was anxious for his dossier to be published before the November 2016 elections. Steele has publicly denied he was shopping the dossier to the media. Now clearly a lie.
A second FOIA case brought by Judicial Watch obtained emails and text messages from Nellie Ohr, the wife of top DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who was working with Steele at Fusion GPS on the Trump-Russia dossier. She was a conduit for Steele's material to a number of DOJ officials. This, too, was prior to the 2016 elections, and was clearly aimed at impacting the outcome by pushing the counterintelligence investigation into candidate Trump. It didn't stop after his election, but accelerated.
Durham has a full plate of leads to explore.