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AP: AG Barr has appointed a special counsel in investigation of Russia probe



William Barr AG

This story has been updated to include Sen. Lindsey Graham’s statements

U.S. Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that in October he had appointed Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel under the same federal statute that oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller during the initial probe into claims of Russian election interference.

Furthermore, he told The AP that Durham’s investigation into the origins of that initial Russia probe has been tightening its scope to focus more on the conduct of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

This relates to text messages of two FBI agents assigned to the probe in which they criticized President Donald Trump and for which Mueller removed them from the probe’s team. Republicans have claimed that these texts, which were publicized in December 2017, are proof that Mueller’s Russia probe was politically motivated against Trump.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after Attorney General William Barr notified the committee that he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham with the powers and authority of a special counsel.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters Tuesday in a press release that he agreed with Barr’s decision to appoint Durham as a Special Counsel in the investigation related to the “Department of Justice and FBI’s conduct in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

Graham said that ‘based on hearings we held in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is obvious the system failed and the FISA Court’s rebuke of the Department of Justice and FBI was more than warranted.”

The chairman stated that the only way to restore credibility to the DOJ and FBI “after this disgraceful episode, people have to be held accountable – either through criminal prosecution or administrative action.” 

“I have complete confidence that Mr. Durham is the right man at the right time to be appointed special counsel,” Graham said. “I hope his work product will help restore confidence in the Department of Justice and FBI after the debacle called Crossfire Hurricane.”

RELATED: Graham: Durham investigation report expected after election

Additionally, Barr has provided extra protection to Durham, The AP also reported, giving him the authority of a special counsel to complete the work without being easily fired.

Under federal regulations, according to The AP, a special counsel can only be fired by the U.S. attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty, or conflict of interest. On top of that, an attorney general must document such reasons in writing.

For more on the story, read The AP’s full story here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Buys Entire Texas Town

‘No Plans Yet’, Cuban Says About His Purchase of Abandoned Texas Town of Mustang



Mark Cuban
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Forget becoming Mayor of a town, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is now the owner of a town.  Cuban reportedly purchased the entire town of Mustang, Texas. The town is virtually abandoned with no current residents, “and it’s been several years since the last two businesses, Wispers Cabaret strip club and Lion’s Den adult bookstore, operated” reports NBC News.

In a brief email explaining the purchase to NBC News on Friday, Cuban wrote “did it to help out a friend. No plans yet!” The town of Mustang is roughly 65 miles south of American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks.

According to Mike Turner, president of Dallas real estate firm J. Elmer Turner, the town had been for sale on the market about four years, listed after the principal owner Marty Price became ill and decided to sell.

Price was an attorney who died this past August; a devoted basketball fan with Mavericks floor seats. “Mark Cuban stepped up, and it was a natural for him to buy it” Turner told NBC News. “With his resources and imagination, I’m sure there are endless possibilities.”

Turner did not reveal the final sales price but admitted it closed last month for less than the $4 million asking price. Jerry Newsom, chief of the volunteer fire department in the neighboring town of Angus, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth “we’re excited to have him as our neighbor here, and we’re excited for the growth and the potential it has.”

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