Barr 'disagrees' with DOJ watchdog report that says Russian Federation probe was justified

Elias Hubbard
December 3, 2019

Attorney General William Barr is already breaking with a point in the Justice Department Inspector General's upcoming report that would undermine President Donald Trump's constant protestations that the probe into his 2016 campaign was a "witch hunt".

The IG operates independently of DOJ leadership, so Barr can not order changes to the report.

CNN reported last month that the report will say the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe was properly launched but lower-level employees made a series of mistakes, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Horowitz's 400-page report, the culmination of a almost two-year investigation, will be released December 9; he will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11. But the attorney general could express his disagreement in a few different ways, ranging from public remarks to a formal letter of disagreement amended to the report. But "the threshold to open the Russian Federation investigation was not particularly high", the Times reports. He later defended his use of the word "spying," saying it was used "off the cuff" and that he wasn't using it pejoratively.

Barr has "praised the inspector general's overall work on the matter", the Post said, noting that because the inspector general is independent of the department, he can not have Horowitz change his findings.

Barr's issue with the report is said to center on Horowitz's conclusion that the FBI had enough information to open an investigation into Trump campaign members in July 2016.

Barr reportedly argues that Horowitz does not have enough information to clear the FBI, and he is relying in part on a separate investigation he initiated, nominally headed by U.S. Attorney John Durham, that is also examining any role the Central Intelligence Agency played.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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