The probe that U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham is leading into the FBI’s Russia investigation — at Attorney General Bill Barr’s behest — has taken a sharp left turn to include, for some reason, the Clinton Foundation, according to the New York Times.
Durham, the Times reports, is looking into how federal agents handled accusations of corruption lodged against the charitable foundation, which has become a frequent target for right wingers. Since his investigation is ostensibly into the origins of the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s infiltration of the Trump campaign, the detour into the dirty laundry of one of Trump’s political enemies seems pretty far outside the scope.
Some former officials reportedly declined to talk to Durham’s team about the foundation, finding the offshoot of the investigation highly unusual.
Interest in the Clinton Foundation is nothing new, though movement in the investigation has frequently petered out until new infusions of partisan accusations — a book written by a senior Breitbart editor in 2016 or a request from Republicans to appoint a special counsel in 2017 — bring it back to the fore.
Durham’s probe has been wielded as a political cudgel by Trump and Barr for months. Trump has publicly pinned Barr’s legacy to Durham finding evidence of FBI wrongdoing in the investigation and publishing it before the November election.
“Bill Barr can go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of our country, or he can go down as an average guy,” he said last month, about the probe’s findings. “We’ll see what happens.”
Barr and Durham “have all the answers,” he added. “It goes all to Obama, and it goes right to Biden.”
Barr, in classic form, has played right along, teasing the release of some findings before the election and decrying the FBI’s investigation as “one of the greatest travesties in American history.”