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Investigation into origin of FBI Russia probe reportedly expanding based upon recently discovered 'new evidence'


Trump critics John Brennan and James Clapper could get roped in

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation has reportedly expanded based on "new evidence" that Durham reportedly discovered during a recent trip to Italy with Attorney General William Barr.

Sources told Fox News that Durham is now "very interested" in talking to former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, two of President Donald Trump's most vocal critics who served in the Obama administration.

Barr and Durham traveled to Italy on extremely short notice, according to the Daily Beast. Once at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Barr requested "a conference room to meet high-level Italian security agents where he could be sure no one was listening in."

Inside that conference room, Barr and Durham reportedly listened a taped deposition from Joseph Mifsud, an Italian Ministry of Justice source told the Daily Beast. Mifsud is the professor who allegedly told Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that he had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

More from the Daily Beast:

The Italian justice ministry's public records show that Mifsud had applied for police protection in Italy after disappearing from Link University, where he worked and, in doing so, had given a taped deposition to explain just why people might want to harm him.

A source in the Italian Ministry of Justice, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Beast that Barr and Durham were played the tape. A second source within the Italian government also confirmed to The Daily Beast that Barr and Durham were shown other evidence the Italians had on Mifsud.

The development is significant because Papadopoulos has suggested that he believes Mifsud contacted him "as part of a setup orchestrated by intelligence agencies," Fox News reported.

Indeed, Papadopoulos told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo in July that around the same time he joined the Trump campaign he was invited to meet Mifsud. Papadopoulos said Italy's former minster of foreign affairs introduced the two, whom he met through a previous employer.

"So clearly, there was some sort of global or at least European radar on me while I was living in London and as soon as I was joining the Trump campaign — which not even the media knew at the time — I'm being introduced to Joseph Mifsud, in Rome, at a school that trains the CIA and the FBI," he said. "So, why I was introduced to Joseph Mifsud, and why this company introduced me to Joseph Mifsud, now that we know they're connected to MI6 and the FBI, makes things even more suspicious and a lot more damning, in my opinion."

The scope of Durham's investigation has also widened, Fox News reported last week. Previously, the investigation focused on the FBI's actions preceding the 2016 presidential election, but now includes what happened after the election leading up to Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel.

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