#ImpeachBarr Trends After Justice Department Reportedly Opens Criminal Inquiry Into Mueller's Russia Probe

#ImpeachBarr trended on Twitter on Friday morning after The New York Times reported that Attorney General William Barr's review of the Russia investigation had become a criminal probe.

The shift allows John Durham, the prosecutor at the head of the probe, the capacity to subpoena witnesses and documents. He can also file criminal charges.

"These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under Attorney General William Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President [Donald] Trump's political revenge," Representative Jerry Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted in a joint statement with Representative Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey representative, joined the calls for impeaching Barr.

"AG Barr is our it control. Barr is trying to dismantle our justice system brick by brick solely to bodyguard trump. Barr should be impeached and stripped of his law licenses," he tweeted.

Both the Times and the Wall Street Journal, which corroborated the report from the Times, reported that it was unclear what possible crime Durham could be investigating.

Trump has long maintained that the investigation into interference into the 2016 election was illegitimate, and Republican politicians have pushed a counter-narrative to the findings of the Mueller report, claiming that the origins of the investigation should be investigated. Barr, who has described the Russia investigation into the Trump campaign as "spying," started an inquiry into the Russia investigation in May. He said at the time that discussions with intelligence officials had built suspicion about the origins of the probe.

"A lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together," he told Fox News.

Democrats have heaped scrutiny onto the attorney general, saying he is acting more like the president's personal attorney than the country's top law enforcement officer. Those calls rose after Barr released the report from special counsel Robert Mueller in April. Democrats said that his summary of the report, which had been released weeks earlier, had been dishonest, and that the attorney general was attempting to spin the findings in a manner that benefited Trump.

Those concerns again emerged after news broke that Barr had traveled to Italy in August and September and that he spoke with officials in the country about a conspiracy theory that has been central to Republican claims that the origins of the inquiry into Trump's campaign were illegitimate.

Following scrutiny over the meetings and questions about the topics discussed, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday that the meetings had been "fully legal, correct and didn't remotely harm our national interests."

Attorney General William Barr pays his respects over the flag-draped casket of Representative Elijah Cummings as Cummings lies in state outside of the House Chamber in the Will-Rodgers corridor of the U.S. Capitol on October 24. Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images