Attorney General William Barr said this week that the Justice Department remains committed to getting to the bottom of the activities that launched the ill-fated investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
During an interview broadcast Thursday on the Fox News program “The Ingraham Angle,” Barr said he is concerned with what he has seen to date from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.
Durham was brought into the picture by Barr to augment an investigation by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who said that FBI made repeated mistakes when it obtained warrants to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The FBI investigation later morphed into the vast Russia investigation conducted by former special counsel Robert Mueller, which concluded there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Durham’s role was to dig deeper to determine if there was wrongdoing at senior levels of the FBI when the warrants for surveillance were first obtained.
Barr said Durham’s efforts are less about compiling a report than about “looking to bring to justice people who were engaged in abuses if he can show that they were criminal violations.”
“My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness,” he said.
Barr then offered his interpretation of what Durham has found so far.
“There was something far more troubling here. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted,” Barr said.
President Donald Trump has voiced his anger at what was done to his 2016 campaign:
Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax – a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating. Part of “insurance policy” in case I won….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
“I think that the president has every right to be frustrated,” Barr said, speaking about the origins of the Russia probe.
“What happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history — without any basis,” he added.
“They started this investigation of his campaign. And even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign,” Barr said.
“A whole pattern of events while he was president … to sabotage the presidency … or at least had the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”
Barr appointed Durham to review the events leading up to and past the 2016 presidential election, focusing on the origins of the Russia probe.
Barr was asked about protecting Americans from abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and said he believes that it is possible to put in place policies “that would make it very hard either to willfully circumvent FISA or to do so sloppily without due regard for the rights of the American person involved and also to make it clear that any misconduct will be discovered.”
“I do think we can put in safeguards that will enable us to go forward with this important tool,” he said.
“I think it’s very sad, and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for because this was an important tool to protect the American people. They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA, but also the FBI as an institution, and we have to rebuild that.”
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