- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Congressional Republicans are demanding more public details about special counsel John Durham’s claim that operatives affiliated with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign exploited access to former President Donald Trump’s internet data to gin up dirt tying him to Russia.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pledged a House investigation into the allegations if Republicans take back Congress in November.

“Special counsel John Durham’s continued investigation into the Russia hoax is essential to getting to the truth and protecting our democracy, and because he has already uncovered several troubling findings, it’s clear that Congress must exercise its oversight responsibilities as well,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, said late Tuesday in a statement to Fox News.

The statement said the probe would examine whether federal funds were used to monitor Mr. Trump’s internet data, whether federal officials abused their power and “disturbing elements of this spying scheme.”

The goal of the investigation, Mr. McCarthy said, is to “ensure nothing like this happens again.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump said the Justice Department should declassify remaining records related to the early stages of its Russia collusion probe amid Mr. Durham’s court filing.

“They have the declassification order,” Mr. Trump said in a Fox News interview. “And they should declassify, absolutely, especially in light of what has just happened and what [has] just been revealed.”

“We did declassify, and people saw them, and I think you’ll see some big stuff,” the former president said, adding that the records will show “tremendous dishonesty and corruption.”

In 2019, Mr. Trump ordered then-Attorney General William P. Barr to begin declassifying records related to the FBI probe into allegations that his campaign conspired with Russia ahead of the 2016 election.

On Mr. Trump’s final day in office, he instructed the Justice Department to make public “to the maximum extent possible” records from the Russia probe.

At the time, a Justice Department official told The Washington Times the department was unaware of the order until reporters began asking about it. The official referred further questions to the White House.

Republican Sens. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin on Tuesday demanded the Justice Department ramp up efforts to release the records.

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the senators said the Justice Department was slow-walking the declassification process by insisting the records are under an “ongoing review.”

It is unclear how many records from the initial FBI probe remain classified, but the senators wrote that the Justice Department has “failed to declassify a single page.”

“[O]ur staff should not have to spend potentially multiple days and countless hours in the Department’s classified facility only to play a guessing game with the Department about what document may or may not be covered by the declassification directive and potentially review records that have already been produced to Congress,” Mr. Grassley and Mr. Johnson wrote.

The renewed push for transparency follows Mr. Durham’s weekend filing alleging that Clinton campaign Micheal Sussmann assembled a team of tech experts to push bogus claims that Trump Organization servers were secretly communicating with Russia’s Alfa Bank.

The tech experts also “exploited” their access to servers at Mr. Trump’s residences and the White House in order to find “derogatory information” about the 45th president, the Durham court filing alleges.

Mr. Sussmann has been charged with lying to the FBI and has pleaded not guilty. He is accused of telling then-FBI General Counsel James Baker that he was not working on behalf of the Clinton campaign when he handed over documents purportedly detailing the supposed link between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.

However, Mr. Durham alleges that Mr. Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the time spent with the FBI.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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