Trump admin seeking basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence of hiding, distorting evidence of Russia election interference: Report
Feb. 14, 2020
Investigations into allegations that Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election in 2016 may be veering towards a theory that intelligence officials during the Obama administration attempted to hide what they knew about Moscow's involvement according to a report from The New York Times .
Anonymous sources told the Times that former CIA director John O. Brennan is thought to have held a "preconceived notion" about Russia, which may have influenced his investigation into the matter. It is also believed that Brennan may have attempted to prevent other agencies from gaining all the information the CIA had gathered in order to arrive at a preordained result.
Newsweek reached out to the DOJ for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Leading the investigation into the genesis of the Russia inquiry is United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John H. Durham, who was appointed to the case by Attorney General William Barr in May 2019.
Durham is reportedly looking into how the decisions and conclusions concerning the alleged election interference were arrived at by intelligence committees. This puts Durham in the position of " investigating the investigators. "
Durham famously disagreed with the report of the DOJ's independent inspector general, Michael Horowitz, which found that the FBI had sufficient reason to look into the connections between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
"I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff," Durham wrote in a December 2019 statement. "However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S."
"Based on the evidence collected to date," Durham continued, "and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened."
Trump has often said that the Obama administration was to blame for any Russian interference in his campaign. In April 2019 the president tweeted, "Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing! Most importantly, the vote was not affected."
Some observers are concerned that the investigation stands as proof that Trump is engaging the DOJ to pursue those he sees as rivals and attempting to aid his allies, such as former adviser Roger Stone.
Originally given a sentence of up to nine years for crimes connected with Trump's 2016 campaign, the DOJ recommended giving Stone a far lighter sentence. In response, the four federal prosecutors who had recommended Stone's initial jail term withdrew from the case.
"Coupled with the president's blatant retaliation against those who helped expose his wrongdoing, the Trump administration poses the gravest threat to the rule of law in America in a generation," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Tuesday.
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