Two House Democrats urged the Justice Department’s independent inspector general on Wednesday to open an investigation into the special counsel review of the Russia inquiry, citing “alarming” disclosures in a recent New York Times article.
The article, which showed how the special counsel’s review became roiled by disputes over prosecutorial ethics, “reveals possible prosecutorial misconduct, abuse of power, ethical transgressions and a potential cover-up of an allegation of a financial crime committed by the former president,” the lawmakers wrote. In a four-page letter to the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, they asked that he scrutinize whether the special counsel, John H. Durham, or the attorney general who appointed him, William P. Barr, “violated any laws, D.O.J. rules or practices, or canons of legal ethics.”
A spokesman for Mr. Durham declined to comment.
Because Democrats are in the minority in the House, the two lawmakers — Representatives Ted Lieu of California and Dan Goldman of New York — lack the power to convene their own oversight hearings into the matter. But on Monday, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, suggested that he would hold oversight hearings into Mr. Durham’s inquiry along with other aspects of how the Trump administration handled the Justice Department….
And the article detailed how Mr. Barr had Mr. Durham hunted for evidence that intelligence abuses lurked in the origins of the Russia inquiry. After that turned into a dead end, they kept the investigation going by shifting to searching for a basis to accuse Hillary Clinton’s campaign of framing Mr. Trump for colluding with Russia.
Mr. Durham never charged such a conspiracy, but he used court filings to insinuate that there had been one, which Mr. Barr — no longer in office — publicly cheered. Mr. Lieu and Mr. Goldman wrote that “charging individuals with crimes in order to pursue separate political narratives undermines our rule of law and represents a gross abuse of power.”