The Justice Department's investigation of itself is now a criminal investigation, though it's not clear what crimes are suspected, sources say. An insider tells Politico that the investigation of the probe into Russian election interference in 2016—which became the Robert Mueller investigation—has been "escalated" from an administrative review to a criminal probe. Attorney General William Barr ordered the investigation in May and appointed John Durham, the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to conduct it. The change in the investigation's status will give Durham and other prosecutors the power to issue subpoenas and file federal criminal charges.
The Russia investigation found evidence that Moscow interfered in the election, but Mueller said he found "insufficient evidence" to prove that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia. Trump has claimed that the FBI agents who opened the inquiry committed treason, and making the Durham probe a criminal investigation will raise fears the president is using the DOJ against his "perceived enemies," reports the New York Times. Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff, chairs of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said Thursday night that the reported move raises "profound new concerns" that under Barr, the Department of Justice "has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump's political revenge," the AP reports. (Read more Russia investigation stories.)