Russia probe 'origins' review now a criminal investigation; GOP lawmakers demand watchdog probe of 'leaks'

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Russia probe ‘origins’ review now a criminal investigation, sources tell Fox News
U.S. Attorney John Durham's probe into the origins of the Russia investigation has become a criminal inquiry, two sources told Fox News on Thursday – and an upcoming report on alleged FBI surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign will shed light on why, one source said. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Thursday his report would be available to the public soon, with "few" redactions.

Attorney General William Barr, center, and Vice President Mike Pence, left of Barr, attend a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Attorney General William Barr, center, and Vice President Mike Pence, left of Barr, attend a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The investigation's new status means Durham can subpoena witnesses, file charges, and impanel fact-finding grand juries. Fox News reported on Tuesday that Durham's probe had expanded significantly based on new evidence uncovered during a recent trip to Rome with Attorney General William Barr. Click here for more on our top story.

‘Leaking like mad’: GOP lawmakers demand probe into release of ‘highly sensitive information,’ disclose fired FBI agent’s texts to make point
Top Republicans have demanded that Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson explain why the watchdog hasn't said if it's investigating "a number of leaks of highly sensitive information" in recent years -- and released several previously unpublished texts and emails from since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, specifically asked Atkinson why Strzok texted bureau colleague Lisa Page the following on Dec. 15, 2016: "Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they're kicking into overdrive."

"What are they worried about, and what are they kicking into 'overdrive?' Johnson and Grassley wrote. "Who are the 'sisters,' and what does it mean to say that the 'sisters have [been] leaking like mad'?" In addition, the senators pushed to know whether the ICIG was looking into Strzok's email to FBI colleagues on April 13, 2017, when he wrote that an unidentified "agency" might be the "source of some of the leaks" to the media that he'd been seeing. Click here for more. 

Trump campaign responds to Biden’s '60 Minutes' remarks on president’s family
The Trump 2020 campaign late Thursday night responded in a tweet to Joe Biden's upcoming "60 Minutes" interview in which the former vice president is critical of President Trump for allowing his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to work in important positions from within the White House. Biden told CBS, in a report that will air Sunday night, that he "wasn't raised to go after the children," but said it was a wrong decision by Trump to tap family members for positions that “they know nothing about.” (CBS released portions of the interview Thursday.)

Ivanka is listed as an adviser and her husband is listed as a senior adviser to the president. The Trump campaign responded and said Biden is right about one point: “Hunter Biden would never have an office in the White House because he’s proven that his only qualification is being the son of Joe Biden.”

Tulsi Gabbard says she won't seek re-election to Congress in 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, announced early Friday, Eastern time, that she will not seek re-election to Congress in 2020 so that she can focus on her bid for the White House. “I will not be seeking re-election to Congress in 2020, and humbly ask you for your support for my candidacy for president of the United States,” Gabbard said in a video posted online. The decision to not seek a fifth term representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District makes way for a competitive race for her seat, Hawaii News Now reported.

Gabbard launched her presidential campaign in January. She has been in a war of words with Hillary Clinton after the former secretary of state suggested in an interview last week that Russians were "grooming” Gabbard to be a third-party candidate in the 2020 presidential election.

Nude photos prompt freshman Democrat's lawyers to send 'cease and desist' letter to DailyMail
Attorneys representing Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., on Thursday sent a "cease and desist" letter to the DailyMail, demanding the British tabloid remove from its website nude photos that it claims depict the freshman congresswoman, and that Hill claims were published without her consent, according to reports. Lawyers Marc Elias and Rachel Jacobs of the firm Perkins Coie wrote to DailyMail executive editor Candace Trunzo on behalf of Hill, threatening swift legal action if the photos — one of which purportedly shows Hill naked with a bong — were not immediately taken down.

DailyMail published a series of nude photos Thursday, which the newspaper claimed showed Hill and a female former campaign staffer. The story comes after website RedState.com reported last week that Hill, who is openly bisexual, had developed a "long-term sexual relationship" with the unnamed staffer, who ultimately entered into a "throuple" with Hill and her husband, Kenny Heslep -- who has since filed for divorce. Click here for more on this story.
 
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#TheFlashback: CLICK HERE to find out what happened on "This Day in History."
 
SOME PARTING WORDS

In an appearance on "Hannity," Mark Levin, host of "Life, Liberty & Levin," observes that Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon were treated fairly during their impeachment processes but that President Trump is "treated worse than a terrorist or mass murderer."

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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day and weekend! We'll see you in your inbox first thing on Friday morning.