The attorney general is reportedly upset after an inspector general found no evidence to support Trump's conspiracy theory.
Attorney General William Barr is reportedly unhappy with an inspector general's conclusion that the FBI didn't to anything wrong in its decision to investigate ties between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Vladimir Putin's Russian regime.
Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the Department of Justice, launched an investigation in March 2018 into questions raised by Trump and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee about the FBI's intelligence gathering during the 2016 election. For the past year and a half, the independent investigator has examined whether law enforcement officials had a legitimate reason to surveil members of the Trump campaign suspected of having improper ties to Russia.
Horowitz's report is expected to be made public imminently and reportedly will debunk the most serious accusations of FBI wrongdoing. People briefed on the draft report told the New York Times last month that while it is critical of "lower-level F.B.I. officials as well as bureau leaders involved in the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation," it absolves "the top ranks of abusing their powers out of bias against President Trump." Trump has long claimed that the entire Russia investigation was nothing more than a witch hunt against him, improperly launched by biased political opponents seeking to spy on him.
According to the Washington Post, Barr "told associates" that he disagrees with Horowitz's finding that the FBI had sufficient evidence in July 2016 to launch its probe into Trump campaign members.
This is not the first time Barr has rejected an independent report because it did not fit Trump's narrative. After Robert Mueller completed his special counsel investigation into Russia's attempts to meddle on Trump's behalf in the 2016 election, Barr released an inaccurate summary falsely suggesting that Mueller had exonerated Trump and his campaign. Mueller himself called out Barr for lying to the American public. Though Mueller's report found at least 10 discrete instances where Trump attempted to obstruct justice, Barr claimed it was okay because Trump had been "frustrated" and cleared his boss of any wrongdoing.
Barr has been widely criticized for serving more as Trump's personal lawyer than the attorney for the American people. Last week, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) — who voted for Barr's confirmation after the nominee had told him that "no one, including the president of the United States, is above the law" — said that if he had it to do over again, he would have voted no.
A Department of Justice spokesperson put out a statement on Tuesday, calling the inspector general investigation "a credit to the Department of Justice," and suggesting that "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."
Trump said Tuesday that if the Horowitz report finds there was no conspiracy against him, "that will be a little disappointing."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.