Attorney General William Barr showed us Tuesday, in his first testimonysince the end of the Russia probe, that he’s not big on emotion, animation or flashy presentations. Calm, scholarly and precise was his modus operandi, even as Democrats tried to lob a bomb or two his way.
Though it didn’t happen on his watch, Barr told Congress he will investigate how the FBI came to conduct a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, starting in the summer of 2016.
We have known for more than a year now that Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating whether the FBI or DOJ abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to secure a warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page less than three weeks from Election Day 2016.
But Barr used a question from Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) to signal that he wants to go further than Mueller or the IG to determine whether the counterintelligence probe was legit from the start.
“The Office of the Inspector General has a pending investigation of the FISA process in the Russia investigation. I expect that will be complete in probably May or June, I am told,” Barr explained, giving the first concrete timetable for the IG probe to wrap up. “So hopefully we’ll have some answers from Inspector General Horowitz on the issue of the FISA warrants.”
Then Barr volunteered his bigger news: “More generally, I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”
He didn’t offer much more, although he told Rep. Aderholt that if there are additional issues to investigate when former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes sends the department a criminal referral, he will expand his probe. – READ MORE