Attorney General William Barr revealed on Friday why he chose Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham to head up an inquiry into the origins of the Russia probe and the conduct of the Justice Department and the FBI.
“I was looking for someone who is tenacious, who is used to looking at sensitive material involving government activities, who has a reputation for being fair and evenhanded,” Barr said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday.
Barr said he thought it was important to task someone with rooting out the story behind the counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign. “Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” he said. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”
Democrats slammed AG Barr for saying that “spying” occurred on the Trump campaign, but the attorney general has defended his remarks, saying that “it’s a good English word.”
Though Durham is a Republican, Connecticut’s two Democratic Senators praised him publicly, and urged President Trump to appoint him to be a U.S. attorney for their state.
“John Durham has earned immense respect as a no-nonsense, fierce and fair prosecutor, and we are pleased that the White House has agreed with our recommendation that he serve as United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut,” Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said in 2017. “John Durham has proven himself time and time again in some of the most challenging and sensitive cases.”
The two Democrats then celebrated Durham’s confirmation in early 2018, saying: “He knows how to try tough cases, having taken on organized crime and government corruption. He will be an outstanding U.S. Attorney.”