Raising fresh concerns that President Donald Trump is weaponizing the Justice Department for his own political and personal gain, Attorney General William Barr\u0026#039;s \u0022administrative review\u0022 of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller\u0026#039;s Russia probe—which resulted in the conviction of a number of Trump associates—has reportedly become a criminal investigation.The New York Times, citing two anonymous individuals familar with the matter, reported late Thursday that the shift from an administrative review to a criminal probe \u0022gives 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.\u0022\u0022Mr. Barr, recall that Attorney General John Mitchell spent 19 months in prison for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. Be prepared to meet the same or worse fate.\u0022 —Robert Reich\u0022It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted,\u0022 according to the Times. Barr appointed Durham in May to investigate the \u0022origins\u0022 of the Russia probe.Lawmakers and legal experts reacted with alarm to the Times report, which was confirmed by other outlets and comes amid an intensifying impeachment inquiry into Trump over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.\u0022These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump\u0026#039;s political revenge,\u0022 tweeted Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. \u0022If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the president with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.\u0022CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said \u0022it was bad enough Trump and Barr were wasting resources on this.\u0022\u0022But now they are fully weaponizing DOJ for political purposes,\u0022 Honig added. \u0022Attorneys general can be impeached.\u0022It was bad enough Trump and Barr were wasting resources on this. But now they are fully weaponizing DOJ for political purposes. Attorneys General *can* be impeached. https://t.co/Pm2sJaXjRw— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) October 25, 2019In an interview on CNN Thursday night, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Barr is \u0022absolutely\u0022 acting as Trump\u0026#039;s personal lawyer rather than attorney general of the United States in his investigation of the Mueller inquiry.\u0022It is deeply troubling what Bill Barr is doing,\u0022 Lieu said.\u0022It is deeply troubling what Bill Barr is doing,\u0022 says Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, reacting to a report that Attorney General William Barr\u0026#039;s probe into the intelligence and origins of the 2016 Trump-Russia investigation is now a criminal investigation https://t.co/xp8QikT8wz pic.twitter.com/ONRX2udepV— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) October 25, 2019As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, Barr has held talks with foreign intelligence officials in Italy and the United Kingdom to request assistance in his probe of the Mueller investigation—news that prompted calls for House Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against the attorney general.In response to Thursday\u0026#039;s reports, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, \u0022Mr. Barr, recall that Attorney General John Mitchell spent 19 months in prison for his role in the Watergate conspiracy.\u0022\u0022Be prepared to meet the same or worse fate,\u0022 Reich wrote.