DOJ to Open Criminal Inquiry into Russia Investigation

Photo via AP

Photo via AP


We ran the numbers: There are 1314 news articles covering this topic. 38% (501) are left leaning, 47% (615) center, 15% (198) right leaning.

This  week, the Department of Justice announced that it will begin a criminal inquiry into its own investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Left-leaning sources tend to emphasize that this move may open President Trump to accusations of corruption, while right-leaning sources discuss potential areas of investigation within the Russia investigation, and centrist articles focus on political reactions to the new criminal inquiry.

A left-leaning article from the New York Times suggests that “The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.” The article also notes that the criminal inquiry creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is investigating itself. The article suggests that Trump is likely to see the inquiry as a vindication of his condemnation of the Russia probe as a “witch hunt.” It adds, “It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted.”

However, a right-leaning article from Fox News suggests that the reason for the criminal inquiry will become clear after the Department of Justice Inspector releases a report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against Trump. The article then explains at length the various relationships at play both within the Trump campaign and in the Russia investigation. However, the crux of the issue is the allegation that the FBI behaved improperly in its Russia investigation, a view that other right-leaning articles reflect.

A centrist article from NPR focuses on the reactions to the news of the criminal inquiry. According to the article, the inquiry has drawn criticisms from Democrats, “who have accused Attorney General William Barr of turning the Justice Department into a political weapon for President Trump.” However, the article notes that what it calls “embarrassing subplots” have drawn criticism from Trump and Republicans; for instance, a key FBI special agent and a top lawyer mocked Trump in text messages on their government cell phones while they were carrying on an extramarital affair.