Attorney General William Barr told reporters Monday that neither former President Barack Obama nor former Vice President Joe Biden will face a criminal investigation regarding the origins of the Russian collusion investigation.
Barr was giving an update alongside FBI Director Christopher Wray regarding new information on the shooting last year at the Pensacola Naval Air Station when he was asked about a probe into the Russia investigation being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
Barr, reading from apparently prepared remarks, said his department would not go after Obama or Biden over their alleged involvement in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Instead, Barr offered a rebuke of law enforcement agencies and government officials who he said had used investigations in the past to go after their political adversaries.
“Over the past few decades, there have been increasing attempts to use the criminal justice system as a political weapon,” he said.
“The legal tactic has been to gin up allegations of criminality by one’s political opponent based on the flimsiest of legal theories. This is not a good development. This is not good for our political life and it’s not good for the criminal justice system.”
“As long as I’m attorney general, the criminal justice system will not be used for partisan political ends and this is especially true for the upcoming elections in November,” he continued.
Barr further said that “we live in a very divided country” and that it is his belief that another investigation could essentially undermine the coming election and further damage the credibility of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.
The political process cannot be “hijacked by efforts to drum up criminal investigations of either candidate,” Barr said, adding, “any effort to pursue an investigation of either candidate has to be approved by me.”
Barr further said that Trump’s treatment in the Russia investigation “was abhorrent,” and added the country’s top law enforcement agencies abused their power to pursue an investigation based on a “false and utterly baseless narrative.”
“We can’t allow this ever to happen again,” he vowed.
On the question of whether Obama or Biden will face legal consequences over their potential involvement in the investigation into the Trump campaign, Barr said the probe will focus on other individuals.
“As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”
On the Durham probe, Barr said that “some aspects of the matter are being investigated as potential crimes.”
Barr’s Monday statements come as Trump has called on Obama to testify before a congressional hearing about his administration’s alleged involvement in the unmasking of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
A letter sent to Republican senators by acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell last week implicated Biden and nearly two dozen other Obama administration officials who were allegedly involved in targeting Flynn.
The New York Post reported nine names in the letter were redacted.
Biden had denied any knowledge of an apparent plan to target the Trump campaign only a day prior to Grenell’s letter being sent.
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