House Dems call for an ‘emergency’ DOJ watchdog review of Durham probe

Four House committee chairs are asking the Justice Department’s top watchdog to open an “emergency” review of Attorney General Bill Barr’s handling of an investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, questioning whether that probe — led by U.S. Attorney John Durham — is complying with DOJ rules intended to avoid influencing an imminent election.

“We are concerned by indications that Attorney General Barr might depart from longstanding DOJ principles to take public action related to U.S. Attorney Durham’s investigation that could impact the presidential election,” write House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) in a six-page letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The four chairs say Barr’s public comments on the Durham probe may already be a violation of DOJ policies prohibiting public comments on an ongoing investigation, and they say his conduct may also violate the IG’s own 2018 recommendations about avoiding taking politically sensitive steps less than two months before the Nov. 3 election.