Attorney General Barr review on Russia probe to focus on intelligence gathering actions
UPDATED 11:07 AM PT — Friday, May 17, 2019
Attorney General William Barr said he wants to make sure the Russia investigation was done properly. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Friday, Barr said his own review of the probe, which examines Russian interference in the 2016 election, will be focused on intelligence gathering efforts prior to the formal FBI inquiry in July 2016.
Last month, Barr announced he would be “reviewing the conduct” of the FBI in the earliest days of what would become a two-year long investigation.
In the interview, the attorney general said, “government power was used to spy on American citizens, I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”
He didn’t expand on what prompted his concerns about the origins of the probe, but did say he has more questions now than when he came in. Barr said he’s most interested in the underlying intelligence which prompted the FBI to start the investigation, and what actions officials took based on that intelligence.
Earlier this week, President Trump praised the attorney general for his work:
“It was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of this country. And you know what? I am so proud of this attorney general that he is looking into it. I think it’s great.”
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr attend the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
In a tweet Friday, the president said his campaign was “conclusively spied on,” and said the act amounts to “treason.”
On Monday, Barr announced Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham would be heading the review. Durham previously investigated cases of law enforcement corruption as well as the destruction of CIA videotapes.
Barr hasn’t indicated when the review may end, but reports say he’s working closely with the CIA, FBI and the director of National Intelligence on the matter. The attorney general also said he’s reviewing Justice Department rules surrounding the investigation, but did not specify what if any changes could come.
Source: Attorney General Barr review on Russia probe to focus on intelligence gathering actions