Democrats call for investigation into Durham's probe, alleging possible election interference

Barr's conduct could 'improperly influence the upcoming presidential election,' they argue.

Updated: September 19, 2020 - 12:43pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Top-ranking House Democrats are calling on Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate whether Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Attorney John Durham and other Justice officials are potentially violating longstanding policy and possibly attempting to influence the outcome of the 2020 election. 

Among the Democrats are House Intelligence Committee Chariman Adam Schiff, who on Friday sent a letter to Horowitz asking him to "open an emergency investigation" into Barr, Durham and others to determine whether they are "following DOJ’s longstanding policy to avoid taking official actions or other steps that could improperly influence the upcoming presidential election."

Barr in May 2019 appointed Durham, the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to investigate the origins of the years-long Trump-Russia collusion probe.

The letter argues that Barr and Durham may have violated that policy with recent public comments regarding Durham's investigation.

Barr has also "signaled repeatedly that he is likely to allow DOJ to take prosecutorial actions, make public disclosures, and even issue reports before the presidential election in November," the letter states. 

"Such actions clearly appear intended to benefit President Trump politically," also said Schiff, a California Democrat.

Among several requests, the letter calls on Horowitz to investigate Barr's comments to ensure they comply with DOJ policy. It also asks Horowitz to examine whether Durham has complied with federal policy in his execution of the investigation. 

"[W]e believe it is imperative that this matter be immediately investigated, that you inform our Committees of your decision to open an investigation, and that you report the results promptly to our Committees," the letter asks of Horowitz.