The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William Barr to probe how Donald Trump's relationships with Russia were investigated said he could not support the theory that the case was a setup by US intelligence, sources have said.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz contacted US Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor Barr had personally chosen to lead a separate review of Trump's 2016 campaign, people familiar with the matter said.
The inspector also contacted US intelligence agencies wanting information on whether a Maltese professor who interacted with one of Trump's campaign advisers was in fact a US intelligence asset, according to The Washington Post.
Attorney General William Barr (pictured) personally chose a prosecutor to lead a review of the investigation looking into Russian involvement in the Trump campaign
The right-wing conspiracy theory stated that the professor was deployed to ensnare the Trump campaign.
But intelligence agencies confirmed the professor was not one of their assets, according to the sources.
US Attorney John Durham (pictured) failed to find any evidence a Trump campaign manager was tapped up by an intelligence agent plant
Durham also told Horowitz his investigation had failed to produce any evidence which could support the theory.
The interaction between Horowitz and Durham, which had not been previously acknowledged, is noted in a draft of Horowitz's report on the Russia investigation which will be released to the public on Monday.
It concluded that the FBI had adequate cause to launch their investigation, disputing the conclusion of Barr.
Trump was asked about the the imminent report, saying Barr was quoted 'incorrectly' and predicting the report itself will be 'devastating.'
At the same time, he tried to downplay the independent auditor's report on alleged FBI misconduct, saying the 'big report' is a separate probe being conducted by prosector John Durham under Barr's oversight.
'I think he was quoted incorrectly. I do believe that,' Trump said in London this week before a meeting with UN Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. 'Because I'm hearing the report is very powerful,' Trump said.
Donald Trump disputed a report that Attorney General Bill Barr disagreed with conclusions of an independent inspector general in a draft report on the start of the Russia probe
Then he said he was not getting inside information on its conclusions. 'But I'm hearing that by reading lots of different things. Not from insiders, it's really from outside information,' the president said.
'I think all we have the to do is wait.' He said it would 'be released on Monday, Monday or so.'
'We have to read it and see it but I think there's a lot of devastating things in that report. But we'll see what happens,' the president said.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Barr, who defended Trump during the release of the Mueller probe, 'disagreed' with Horowitz's conclusion that there was, in fact, enough information to justify the start of the probe. The Post describes a major split within the Justice Department over the report.