U.S. Attorney General William Barr has appointed a federal prosecutor to examine the origins of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press reports.
The news agency quoted an unidentified person familiar with the matter as saying on May 13 that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, has been assigned to determine whether the collection of intelligence on the Trump campaign was 'lawful and appropriate.'
President Donald Trump has called for such an investigation, branding the Russia inquiry a 'witch-hunt' by his opponents.
Trump and his supporters have also accused the Justice Department and the FBI of illegally spying on his campaign.
Meanwhile, critics of Barr have accused the attorney general of acting on behalf of the president rather than in the interests of justice.
Last month, Barr told congressmen he believed 'spying did occur' on the Trump campaign.
He later said he was gathering a team to look into the origins of the Russia investigation, which was led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
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Mueller's report has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election 'in sweeping and systematic fashion,' but that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Trump and his team committed a crime by colluding with Russia officials to tip the outcome of the vote.
The Kremlin has denied interfering in the election.
Based on reporting by AP and the BBC
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