The chairmen of two key House committees have condemned the reported opening of a criminal investigation of the Russia inquiry


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Good morning, live blog readers!

We are almost to the end of a very damaging week for the president, with more evidence of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal coming to light, but it appears that the Trump administration may be using every tool at its disposal to fight back.

Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.

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. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

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