On Tuesday, President Trump authorized an executive order to declassify information related to the investigation into the alleged Russian–FBI plot that sought to damage his campaign in the 2016 elections.
The move empowers Attorney General William Barr, and by extension, Special Prosecutor John Durham to investigate the 2019 FBI investigation known as ‘Hurricane Crossfire.”
“The Attorney General is authorized to use classified information as he deems necessary in connection with his review, including in a grand jury or other proceeding,” Trump said in a memorandum signed on Friday and released Tuesday.
“The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s investigation unless expressly extended by the President. In addition, the authority of the Attorney General under the May 23, 2019, memorandum is hereby extended to terminate only upon the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s investigation,” the document adds.
The action taken by the President comes after Attorney General William Barr, who resigned from his post as of Dec. 23, announced that Durham was “making good progress” in the investigation that has compromised several FBI officials in the Obama administration.
In a recent interview, Barr also offered details about the ongoing Durham investigation, announcing that a group of officials is involved in an attempt to “overthrow” President Donald Trump and remove him from office.
Durham has full authority to investigate whether any federal official, employee, or any other person or entity violated the law in connection with intelligence, counterintelligence, or law enforcement activities directed at the 2016 presidential campaigns.
As the StarTribune has reported, the investigation followed President Trump’s calls to “investigate the investigators.” In May 2019, the President ordered U.S. intelligence officials to assist in such a review, allowing Attorney General Barr to declassify or downgrade information or intelligence related to his review.
“The heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review,” the President said in May of last year.
“The Attorney General may … declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General’s review. Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element,” Trump added at the time.
So far, the Durham investigation has led to former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleading guilty to forging a document during the office’s efforts to renew the Foreign Relations Policy Intelligence Surveillance Act authority to hear from Carter Page. Page was a foreign policy advisor to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Clinesmith, who also worked on the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server, fraudulently edited a CIA e-mail in 2017 to claim that Page “was not a source” for the agency, according to the Washington Examiner.
Durham was appointed by Barr last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s investigation into false Russian interference after Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller completed his year-long investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
As Fox News notes, Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.