Attorney General William Barr is getting help from top U.S. intelligence officials in his investigation into the origins of the federal Russia investigation.
CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI Director Christopher Wray have all been enlisted in the effort, according to multiple reports Tuesday.
The news comes one day after it was revealed Barr had tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut with leading the inquiry.
Although Trump has repeatedly demanded a Justice Department review of how and why the FBI began its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, he denied ordering Barr to launch a probe into its roots.
“It was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of and you know what? I am so proud of our attorney general that he is looking into it,” he said as he left the White House for an event in Louisiana. “I think it’s great. I did not know about it.”
The move to involve U.S. intelligence chiefs suggests Barr is expanding the scope of the investigation. He recently testified before Congress that he was putting a team together and “working closely with” Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who has been looking into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse for more than a year. The IG probe is expected to wrap up his probe in late May and June.
A source told Fox News that Durham, who has made a name for himself leading public corruption investigations, has been reviewing the origin of the Russia investigation “for weeks.”
Barr testified in April that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. Although Barr clarified that he hasn’t proven there was any wrongdoing and is looking into alleged misconduct within the Justice Department and FBI, his “spying” declaration riled Democrats and others.
The comment exposed fissures not only along partisan lines, but also within the Trump administration. Wray disputed Barr’s use of the word “spying,” to describe surveillance of Trump’s 2016 campaign, testifying to a congressional panel that, “That’s not the term I would use.”
This sparked a harsh rebuke from Trump, who appears to be souring on the man he chose to replace James Comey atop the FBI after he was fired in May 2017. “I didn’t understand his answer. Because I thought the attorney general answered it perfectly. So I certainly didn’t understand that answer. I thought it was a ridiculous answer,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.
The FBI launched its original counterintelligence investigation, called Crossfire Hurricane, in July 2016. It was prompted by Australian diplomat Alexander Downer informing the FBI that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told him Russia had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival in the 2016 election. That counterintelligence investigation was wrapped into special counsel Robert Mueller’s effort, which was unable to find sufficient evidence to issue charges of criminal conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
I dont wanna go to jail.
Our bigger treat is Democrats and Communist China. The technology they stole and that parts of our military hardware uses parts made in China.
@kitt: Translation: My pants are loaded with bricks right now. Can we talk this over?
Who will be the first canary to start singing?