U.S. Attorney General William Barr appointed John Durham as a special counsel in order to protect the investigation into "Crossfire Hurricane," the probe into the Trump campaign by the FBI during the 2016 election.
The revelation was made to the Associated Press on Tuesday amid continuing rancor over the results of the 2020 election and allegations of voter fraud.
"I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Mueller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they'd be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election," Barr told the AP.
He went on to clarify that the investigation had begun with a broad focus but had narrowed so that it "really is focused on the activities of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation within the FBI."
A special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general for specific causes, including misconduct, dereliction of duty, or a conflict of interest, and that dismissal would have to be documented in writing.
Critics of the Crossfire Hurricane operation allege that officials under the former Obama administration abused their investigatory powers in order to pursue charges against Trump campaign officials out of political interest.
Barr's admission came almost simultaneously with a statement from Barr saying that the Department of Justice had not uncovered evidence of voter fraud that would have overturned the results of the election.
"To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election," Barr said in the statement, appearing to refer to the claims of massive voter fraud by attorney Sidney Powell in several states.
"There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results," Barr said. "And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven't seen anything to substantiate that."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) praised the appointment of Durham in a statement on Twitter.
"I completely concur with Attorney General Barr's decision to appoint Mr. Durham as special counsel regarding matters related to the Department of Justice and FBI's conduct in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation," Graham tweeted.
I completely concur with Attorney General Barr’s decision to appoint Mr. Durham as special counsel regarding matter… https://t.co/EgosV4lYBf— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1606858874.0
"To restore credibility to the Department of Justice and FBI after this disgraceful episode, people have to be held accountable – either through criminal prosecution or administrative action," he added.
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