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US Attorney General Barr Makes the Rounds: John Durham Will Have the Last Word

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Attorney General Barr was interviewed by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal Tuesday as reactions began to roll in concerning the Horowitz Report. Professor Jonathan Turley has an excellent article in The Hill newspapernoting that the Horowitz findings are damning for the FBI. Turley said that saying the FBI investigation of Trump’s campaign was not improper to begin with, when taken with the actual abuses revealed in the report, was equivalent to congratulating the captain of the Titanic at the beginning of his disastrous voyage. Larry Johnson also has an article out based on the Executive Summary to the Horowitz Report. In his colorful portrait, Johnson says the Horowitz report represents a futile effort to “polish FBI turds.”

Barr’s interviews precede the scheduled appearance by Horowitz Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His calm analysis, jokes and, comments produced immediate outrage by key players in the coup against Trump, most prominently Senator Mark Warner of the Senate Intelligence Committee who proclaimed the Attorney General was involved in writing “revisionist” history and acting “in incredible bad faith.” The main stream media was equally hysterical, claiming, again, that Barr was acting as Donald Trump’s hatchet man and debasing his office.

In his interview, Barr said he disagreed with “Mike” that the investigation had adequate grounds to begin with, even with the low standards necessary to open a counterintelligence investigation. He also prefaced his remarks by noting that he was deeply troubled by the present partisan environment which resulted in weaponization of criminal laws over political disagreements. He said that prosecutions brought against anyone involved in illegalities in the campaign against Trump would have to be based on “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” the appropriate standard for initiating criminal prosecutions. He noted that he encountered two very split partisan arguments being made to him personally—why weren’t Trump’s official opponents already in jail and, on the other side, why wasn’t Bill Barr already in jail? He laughed and said that he told everyone, “such things take time.”

In his interview with NBC, Barr said,

I think, probably, from a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government used the apparatus of the state — principally, the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence agencies — both to spy on political opponents. But as to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of the election,” Barr alleged. “As far as I’m aware, this is the first time in history that this has been done to a presidential campaign.”

He noted that the claimed reason for opening a full counterintelligence investigation on a major Presidential campaign, the reported remarks of George Papadopoulos concerning Russian possession of dirt about Hillary Clinton, was in effect, a “suggestion of a suggestion” occurring in a barroom encounter. He noted that based on the “suggestion of a suggestion” the FBI allegedly leaped to the wild conclusion that Papadopoulos simple remark about Clinton dirt “must reflect prior knowledge of the hack,” of the DNC’s computers. He said that was “a bridge too far,” when it was widely publicized at that time that Clinton’s private email server had been hacked by the Russians.

Barr said that the FBI should have talked to the Trump Campaign about its concerns and the FBI’s reasons for not doing so made no sense since he, in his previous term as Attorney General, had arranged such “defensive briefings” lots of times and such briefings only help counterintelligence investigations.

He repeated that the Trump Campaign was spied upon and those efforts, by informants, only turned up exculpatory information concerning any link between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government. Nonetheless, the FBI proceeded with the most intrusive technique of all, a FISA warrant, and hid all the exculpatory information they had gathered from the FISA Court. They relied, instead, on the dossier compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele which was being paid for by the Clinton Campaign and which Barr characterized as a “complete sham.”

“When their entire case collapsed, what did they do?” Barr asked. “They kept on investigating the president, well into his administration.”

Barr said he still believed the FBI might have operated in “bad faith” in opening the Russia probe in 2016 and continuing to investigate Mr. Trump’s actions after he took office.

I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press. I think there were gross abuses…and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI.”

Barr noted that the final word on this would come from John Durham, whose much wider investigative purview would allow him to assemble the full picture of what actually happened in 2016, including actions by foreign intelligence agencies, the CIA, and the State Department.