U.S. Attorney John Durham is scrutinizing former CIA Director John Brennan as he seeks answers on the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s 2016 meddling.
The federal prosecutor, hand-picked by Attorney General William Barr to lead the inquiry into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation, has asked for Brennan’s electronic communications, phone records, and other documents from the CIA, per a source cited by the New York Times.
Durham wants to know what Brennan thought about British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier and the conversations he had about it, whether it was used in the January 2017 intelligence community's assessment dealing with Russian interference in the race between Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, why former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe insisted upon it being part of the assessment, how allegations from the dossier ended up in the assessment's appendix, and whether Brennan had been misleading in his public statements about the dossier’s use by the intelligence community.
Durham’s scrutiny of Brennan and the dossier is likely connected to new revelations by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz from his investigation into Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse by the Department of Justice and the FBI. Horowitz concluded Steele’s dossier played a " central and essential" role in the bureau’s pursuit of surveillance warrants against Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The DOJ watchdog also found that Comey and McCabe spent weeks pushing for the dossier to be included in the postelection intelligence assessment ordered by President Barack Obama.