John Durham appoints new criminal chief: 'Certainly will be a standout'

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    The federal prosecutor in charge of the Justice Department inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation appointed a new criminal division chief.

    John Durham, a United States attorney from Connecticut, announced on Monday that the role will be taken by Sarah Karwan, who has prosecuted a wide variety of criminal cases.

    “I am thrilled that Sarah Karwan will lead our criminal division,” Durham said in a statement. “During her more than 12 years as an [assistant U.S. attorney], Sarah has done it all, prosecuting violent criminals, drug traffickers, financial fraudsters, corrupt public officials, and a wide variety of other wrongdoers. Given the breadth of her experience and her exceptional lawyering skills, she certainly will be a standout as our new criminal chief.”

    Karwan replaced William Nardini, who now has a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. She graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1997 and from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2000. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2007, she spent roughly six years in the private sector specializing in securities litigation.

    As head of the criminal division, Karwan will oversee the violent crimes and narcotics, financial fraud and public corruption, national security and cybercrime, and major crimes program-based units.

    Durham has been tasked by Attorney General William Barr with conducting a review of the FBI's Russia investigation.

    In October, it was reported that Durham was expanding the scope of his investigation, adding agents and resources, to examine the post-election timeline up to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel in May 2017. The "investigation into the investigators" was reported to be upgraded to a criminal inquiry later that month, which would give Durham the power to impanel a grand jury and hand down indictments.

    Durham's team is exploring whether a crime was committed by Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who was found by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to have altered a document during the FBI's efforts to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewal to continue wiretapping onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

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