WASHINGTON — For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.
Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
I'm not sure how much of this is really true or not. I've been saying all along that the whole big deal in the Russia Hoax is--PREDICATION. What predication really was there to open Crossfire Hurricane at the end of July, 2016. But as I've also been saying endlessly, given that the Mueller Witchhunt was explicitly a continuation of Crossfire Hurricane--we have Rod Rosenstein's word in writing for that--then you can't investigate the one without impacting the other. If Crossfire Hurricane's predication was bogus, then so was the predication for the Mueller Witchhunt bogus.
The only two questions are: Who knew that, and when did they know that? Conveniently, we have two of the founding members of Team Mueller texting each other--Strzok and Page, the dynamic duo--and Strzok says they both know there's "no there there." If Strzok, the lead agent for Crossfire Hurricane, knows that it's all a hoax immediately before the startup of the Mueller Witchhunt, then how could it possibly be that McCabe, Rosenstein, and Mueller wouldn't also know that? Either Strzok was playing them and is the evil genius behind it all, or they were all in on it. And, anyway, each of them had an independent duty to determine whether the predication was good or not, so I'm betting that they were all in on it.
Bill Barr gets this, and always has. The NYT article quotes him to that effect:
Mr. Barr expressed skepticism of the Russia investigation even before joining the Trump administration. Weeks after being was sworn in this year, he said he intended to scrutinize how it started and used the term “spying” to describe investigators’ surveillance of Trump campaign advisers. But he has been careful to say he wants to determine whether investigators acted lawfully.
“The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he told lawmakers in April. “And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”
So, there's never been any mystery about where Barr/Durham have been headed. Despite the NYT's professed mystification at it all.
Is this truly a new development, or has this been going on for some time and the fact is only now being leaked in the midst of the Impeachment Theater? My hope is that it's been ongoing for at least a few months.
ADDENDUM: In case anyone is bummed out by this news, thinking, Man, this is taking way too long--don't be. Durham hasn't needed a Grand Jury in order to obtain and review mountains of evidence that's already in government custody: FISA applications, case files, correspondence of all sorts. Much of that would already have been obtained and sorted through by OIG (and maybe John Huber--remember him?). The big deal about the Grand Jury would have to do with two things that I can think of offhand: 1) Getting people under oath for questioning, and 2) obtaining documentation from non-government entities like Fusion GPS. We've heard several times about Durham getting more resources and personnel, so we know he's been busy, and a lot of that business has probably been preparation for questioning witnesses before the Grand Jury.