Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday offered stern criticism of the FBI over its investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016, disputing a Justice Department inspector general’s report one day earlier and saying it is possible the bureau acted in “bad faith.”
Barr in an interview with NBC News also elaborated on his disagreement with a key conclusion of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that the investigation was justified, saying he doesn’t believe the evidence backed up the steps that were taken.
“Here, I felt this was very flimsy,” Barr said. “I think when you step back here and you say, ‘What was this all based on,’ it’s not sufficient.”
“There was and never has been any evidence of collusion and yet this campaign and the president’s administration has been dominated by this investigation into what turns out to be completely baseless,” Barr continued.
Barr’s interview on Tuesday demonstrated his willingness to serve as one of Trump’s chief defenders. He reiterated that he believed the president’s campaign had been “spied” on in 2016.
Barr largely dismissed the Horowitz report’s finding that political bias did not influence the decision to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016, saying the final determination would come once Durham has completed his separate probe into the origin of the investigation.
“That is the point at which a decision has to be made about motivations,” Barr said. “And I think right now it would be premature to make any judgment one way or the other.”
Barr said Durham would have broader authority than Horowitz to look into potential misconduct. The attorney general added that he’d instructed Durham examine the FBI’s conduct after Trump was elected, based on some of Horowitz’s findings.
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