AG William Barr Says Inspector General is Wrong About FBI Witch Hunt
Attorney General William Barr is not entirely pleased with a new report coming out from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The report, which follows an investigation into the FBI’s practices during the 2016 Trump/Russia probe, will conclude that the agency had enough legal justification in July 2016 to begin looking into the Trump campaign.
Barr has reportedly told associates that he does not agree with this finding.
“The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week, but behind the scenes at the Justice Department, disagreement has surfaced about one of Horowitz’s central conclusions on the origins of the Russia investigation,” reported the Washington Post on Tuesday. “The discord could be the prelude to a major fissure within federal law enforcement on the controversial question of investigating a presidential campaign.”
Whether or not Barr will go public with his disagreements remains to be seen; for now, the Justice Department is asking the public to await the full report before speculating on its contents.
“Michael Horowitz is a credit to the Department of Justice,” a spokesman said. “His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters.”
In testimony before Congress in April, Barr made it clear that he still had serious questions about the way the FBI conducted their investigation into the president’s 2016 campaign.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said at the time. “I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”
He has made good on his promise to conduct that exploration. For the last year, Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham have been pursuing leads all over the world in an attempt to get to the bottom of the witch hunt that consumed much of Trump’s presidency. While it’s unclear at this time what aspects of Horowitz’s report trouble Barr, it is probably safe to assume that the attorney general is privy to information – gathered within the scope of Durham’s investigation – that the inspector general is not. This could explain the discrepancy in their respective views.
The inspector general’s report is due to be released on December 9, and Horowitz himself will appear before the Senate later this month.