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investigating the investigation

Barr reportedly launches 3rd investigation into origins of Russia probe

Attorney General William Barr has tasked John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, with reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation, two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.

This is the third known investigation into the FBI's 2016 launch of a counterintelligence investigation into potential ties between associates of President Trump and Russians meddling in the election. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and John W. Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, have both been reviewing parts of the inquiry, the Times reports. Durham previously investigated the FBI's handling of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger and the CIA destroying videos showing terrorism suspects being tortured.

Justice Department and FBI officials have long defended the investigation and use of court-authorized surveillance. At the start of the investigation, the FBI's focus was on four Trump associates: George Papadopoulos, a campaign adviser who told an Australian diplomat he heard Russians had stolen Democratic emails; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; Michael Flynn, who would briefly serve as Trump's first national security adviser; and campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Manafort is now in prison after being convicted of tax fraud and pleading guilty to conspiracy, while Flynn and Papadopoulos both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation.