One of their talking points is that lawmakers already investigated the questions being looked into by Durham. Yet the Senate Intelligence Committee did not have the greater resources of a criminal investigation. Durham concluded, after more than a year of looking into the original Russian probe, that such criminal investigative powers would be necessary. He could well reach the same conclusion as the Senate investigators, but he has access to information not available to them. Not only can he review privileged material within the executive branch, but Durham enlisted Attorney General William Barr to secure unreviewed evidence held by foreign countries involving key players in the original probe. That includes tapes of an interview with professor Joseph Mifsud.
As I have previously discussed, Mifsud remains mired in controversy. The Maltese academic appeared to have ties to the Russians and seemed eager to tell former the Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had hacked the Clinton campaign emails. Mueller reported that Mifsud lied repeatedly to investigators but, curiously, did not pursue criminal charges. That has fueled speculation about the true controllers of Mifsud, and Durham could put that controversy and many others to rest.
There are legitimate questions about the Obama administration looking into Trump associates. Those questions are magnified by the shocking bias of key players in the Russian probe, which led to the dismissal of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and FBI agent Peter Strzok. The Justice Department inspector general referred prior allegations involving officials like McCabe for possible criminal charges, a referral rejected under the attorney general. It is bizarre for Democrats to argue that key officials referring to “insurance policies” against a Trump victory should not concern the public or warrant finishing the Durham investigation.