Special Prosecutor John Durham is continuing his investigation into how the Trump–Russia probe got started by requesting the emails, call logs, and other communications of former CIA Director John Brennan, the Daily Caller reported Thursday.
According to the Daily Caller, three different sources told The New York Times that Durham is looking into Brennan’s role in the intelligence community’s determination that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 U.S. election to help now-President Donald Trump.
Durham also wants to know how Brennan viewed the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, which was used by FBI agents to get warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), even though it came from a dubious source and was never verified. Brennan has previously said that the dossier was not part of the assessment about Russian election interference and whether Trump was involved, but a recent inspector general report suggested otherwise.
For his part, Durham has been investigating since May to find out how exactly officials decided to start investigating Trump and whether any laws were broken in the process. The probe turned criminal last month.
Barr wants to know
Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham to find out whether officials acted appropriately regarding the Trump–Russia investigation, which ended up not yielding any evidence that Trump colluded with Russia.
Barr also wants to know whether agencies were looking into Trump before an official investigation was launched in July 2016.
The inspector general (IG) report, released Dec. 9, found at least 17 errors on the FISA applications used to get warrants to spy on 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page, according to The Epoch Times. The dossier was used as the main source of information for the warrants, according to the IG, and the FBI failed to disclose information that showed the dossier was inaccurate.
It is generally known that Russia has attempted to interfere with U.S. elections, but they work more as a general disrupter than as a supporter of one candidate over another.
Brennan can’t decide
In recent months, Brennan has given conflicting statements on the Steele dossier, at one point saying that he was skeptical of it in 2016 when he first came across it.
An FBI official reportedly told Durham that the CIA treated the dossier as “internet rumor,” but Durham said after leaving the FBI that it was viewed as credible because it fit with other Russian intelligence being gathered at the time.
“I do think it was up to the FBI to see whether or not they could verify any of it,” Brennan said in February 2018, according to the Daily Caller. “Jim Comey has said it contained salacious and unverified information. Just because it wasn’t unverified doesn’t mean it wasn’t true.”
After hearing Brennan speak out of both sides of his mouth about the dossier and how it played into Trump spying, it seems Durham wants to see whether the ex-CIA chief’s communications can shed light on which side was telling the truth.