Attorney General Launches Investigation of FBI’s 'Treasonous Acts' Against Trump
William Barr confirms he's already assembled a team to probe anti-Trump bias
US Attorney General William Barr confirmed on Tuesday that he has launched an investigation into the FBI's anti-Trump bias, following complaints from the president that officials at the Bureau have committed "treasonous acts."
AG Barr told Congress during a hearing on Tuesday that he has already assembled a team to conduct the probe.
The move will likely appease Republicans, and President Donald Trump himself, who have been pushing for a review into whether the Justice Department and FBI expressed anti-Trump bias during the beginning of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Barr told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that he was "reviewing" the FBI's conduct from the start of the Russia probe.
"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," Barr told lawmakers.
Over the weekend, President Trump said the "perpetrators" behind the "fraudulent Russian witch hunt" against him, must face justice for "treasonous acts," during a furious Twitter blast.
The president described Robert Mueller's Russia probe as "a total waste of time" and said the claims that his campaign colluded with Russian agents were fabricated by "13 Angry Trump hating Dems."
Trump declared that he believes those behind the campaign are "guilty of dishonest and treasonous acts."
According to the Daily Mail, Barr revealed his top-level review under questioning by top Appropriations subpanel Republican Rep Robert Aderholt.
The Alabama congressman asked Barr about former House Intelligence Chairman Rep Devin Nunes making criminal referrals to DOJ about leaks and other alleged misconduct by the FBI at the start of the Russia probe.
Although such referrals do not have the power to force an investigation, Nunes said they pertained to "alleged misconduct during the Russia investigation including the leak of classified material and alleged conspiracies to lie to Congress and the FISA court in order to spy on then-candidate Trump and other persons."
Aderholt told the Daily Mail that he had not had any additional back-channel conversations with the Justice Department to confirm the extent of the review Barr is conducting.
"I got the impression that [the matter] was on his radar screen that he was looking at it in a very close manner," Aderholt said.
"I would think in this day and age that when it's regarding the dossier issue, that's been a big topic and I think he knows all about it."
President Trump has repeatedly branded the Mueller probe a "witch hunt" and, following the release of Barr's four-page summary of the Mueller report, demanded an investigation into the conduct of FBI officials.
Why should I be defending a fraudulent Russian Witch Hunt. It’s about time the perpetrators of this fraud on me and the American People start defending their dishonest and treasonous acts. How and why did this terrible event begin? Never Forget!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2019
Aderholt specifically questioned Barr about the now infamous "Steele Dossier," which contained allegations that Trump's campaign had conspired with Russia and received negative information about Clinton's campaign/during the 2016 election.
He described the dossier as "salacious and unverified," and claimed - as Trump and many of his supporters have - that it was what launched the FBI's investigation.
The theory has been repeatedly shot down by former FBI director James Comey, who said the probe launched due to a conversation George Papadopoulos, the foreign policy adviser for Trump's campaign, had regarding emails Russia had stolen that 'would be harmful to Hillary Clinton'.
But Republicans are celebrating Barr's decision to launch an investigation, one that already follows a two-year effort by Nunes and Rep Jim Jordan to try and prove their suspicions that the FBI was biased against Trump.
"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016," Jordan told Bloomberg.
"That's something that has been really important to us. It's what we've been calling for."
So, let’s get this straight! There was No Collusion and in fact the Phony Dossier was a Con Job that was paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. So the 13 Angry Democrats were investigating an event that never happened and that was in fact a made up Fraud. I just fought back....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2019
.... against something I knew never existed, Collusion with Russia (so ridiculous!) - No Obstruction. This Russia Hoax must never happen to another President, and Law Enforcement must find out, HOW DID IT START?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2019
Barr also revealed on Tuesday that he will make public a redacted version of the Mueller report within a week.
"From my standpoint, within a week, I will be in a position to release the report to the public and then I will engage with the chairmen of both Judiciary Committees about that report," he testified on Tuesday.
But lawmakers at a House subcommittee hearing grilled Barr about the redactions and tried to pin him down on what material would be withheld – as well as whether he would ever reveal why it got excised.
"We will color-code the excisions from the report and we will provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction," Barr said.
The attorney general also revealed there were four categories of redactions: information presented to grand juries; passages which would reveal intelligence sources and methods; details of ongoing prosecution cases; and information about "incidental parties" which could harm their "privacy and reputational interests."
Barr also flatly told Democrats that he will not hand over the entire report and its underlying evidence, setting up a major battle with Congress over Mueller.
His appearance in front of one of the House Appropriations Committee subcommittees was the first time he has answered questions on Mueller - but he repeatedly refused to offer any insight into its contents.
Barr would not also directly answer a question about whether the White House had seen the Mueller report, was briefed in advance of Barr's letter or had been briefed on its contents.
"I've said what I'm going to say about the report today," said Barr.
"I've issued three letters about it. And I was willing to discuss the historic information of how the report came to me and my decision on Sunday."
"But I've already laid out the process that is going forward to release these reports hopefully within a week, and I'm not going to say anything more about it until the report is out and everyone has a chance to look at it," he continued.
Barr also wouldn't directly respond to a question about whether President Trump was accurate when he said the report was a "complete and total exoneration" of him.