According to media reports, the US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the investigation report into the Russia affair.
The New York Times reported yesterday (local time) that the ministry has extended an administrative review of the investigation by special investigator Robert Mueller, which was overseen by US Attorney General William Barr, to a criminal investigation.
In doing so, prosecutor John Durham can inter alia initiate criminal proceedings and issue subpoenas – ie binding requests – for testimony and the issuing of documents. This means that the Ministry of Justice is investigating against itself, it was said in the „Times“ – although it is not clear which possible offense is investigated and when the criminal investigation has begun.
The Wall Street Journal and broadcaster NBC News also reported the move. The Ministry of Justice initially did not respond to a request from AFP.
The interpretation of the investigation results Mueller is highly controversial. Although Mueller stated in his final report presented in March that he had found no solid evidence of illegal collusion of the election campaign team of Donald Trump with Russia in the 2016 election campaign. However, he explicitly did not relieve the President of the suspicion of punishable judicial disability – he even provides a whole series of concrete indications for this.
In addition, the Special Investigator stated in the report: „The Russian state has systematically interfered with the 2016 presidential election.“ Trump repeatedly described the investigator’s investigation as „witch-hunt“ and its creation as „illegal.“
Former FBI director Mueller was appointed as a special investigator in May 2017 to investigate alleged Russian campaign interventions and possible „connections“ and „collusion“ between Trump employees and Moscow.