WASHINGTON—Attorney General William Barr should focus on initiating prosecutions of Russia hoax ringleaders like former FBI counter-espionage agent Peter Strzok and “people of that ilk who quite obviously abused their offices for political purposes,” said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
“The fact they have an attorney general and a U.S. attorney looking at these issues is a positive development,” Fitton told The Epoch Times on May 14. “And the reaction of the left to it tells you why it is, because you’ve got someone with the ability to impanel grand juries and do a serious criminal prosecution.”
Fitton was referring to intense congressional and mainstream media criticism of Barr for appointing U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham to review the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI handling of allegations that aides to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian interests to influence the outcome of the election.
Durham is expected to review the FBI’s justification for opening and continuing its probe of the allegations, including its use of the controversial Steele dossier and seeking approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to spy on former Trump campaign aides.
“We don’t need special prosecutors at this point, we just need prosecutions,” Fitton said. “I mean people like Peter Strzok and people of that ilk who quite obviously abused their offices for political purposes.
“How much more investigating is needed here? We just need decision-making on prosecutions. I mean there’s not much else to do here. We don’t need a two-year investigation here, they should be able to figure out what they need to do.”
Fitton acknowledged “that means doing a serious investigation, not some sort of administrative review where you’re doing sort of a glorified inspector general (IG) report.”
Durham is a 37-year career attorney with the DOJ. Trump appointed him to his present job in 2017 and the Senate unanimously confirmed him for it. Connecticut’s two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, described Durham as “a fierce, fair prosecutor.”
Durham’s probe will be the third such effort now underway at the DOJ. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber to review the FBI’s surveillance practices, as well as its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an insecure, home-brew private email server from 2009 to 2013.
Michael Horowitz, the DOJ inspector general, is expected to file a report in June on the FISA warrants. That review that is also likely to devote significant attention to the highly questionable credibility of the Steele dossier, prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele with assistance from Russian interests and paid for by Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee through a cut-out law firm.
The Durham, Huber, and IG investigations are covering much of the territory previously covered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s recently released, 448-page report.
Mueller found “no evidence” that any American colluded with Russian interests to shape the outcome of the 2016 election. Mueller’s almost two-year investigation began in May 2017 and issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, interviewed nearly 500 witnesses, employed a staff of 19 experienced white-collar crime prosecutors, and spent an estimated $25 million.
In a related development on May 14, Judicial Watch announced that it has received 73 pages of documents from the DOJ as a result of the government’s failure to respond to the group’s 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for copies of all correspondence—plus calendar notes—to and from Mueller’s chief prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann.
Weissmann was previously chief of the DOJ’s criminal fraud section during President Barack Obama’s administration. He was also present on election night 2016, at what was supposed to be Clinton’s campaign victory celebration.
The documents show Weissmann interviewed and hired multiple attorneys for the Mueller probe who were contributors to the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns.
“These documents show Andrew Weissmann, an anti-Trump activist, had a hand in hiring key members of Mueller’s team—who also happened to be political opponents of President Trump,” Fitton said in a statement released with the documents.
“These documents show that Mueller outsourced his hiring decisions to Andrew Weissmann. No wonder it took well over a year to get this basic information and, yet, the Deep State DOJ is still stonewalling on other Weissmann documents!”
Among those hired by Weissmann, according to the documents, was Andrew Goldstein, a former Time Magazine reporter who contributed $3,300 to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.
Other Weissmann hires for the Mueller team included Kyle Feeney, who contributed $500 to Obama’s campaign and $250 to Clinton’s failed effort; Russ Atkinson, who was a $200 donor to Clinton; and Deputy Attorney General Greg Andres, who gave $2,700 to the 2018 reelection campaign of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).