Attorney General William Barr blasted the FBI yesterday, claiming the agency may have acted in “bad faith” in its investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
Speaking to NBC News, Barr said the country was “turned on its head” for three years during the FBI’s investigation “based on a completely bogus narrative” largely fanned by a “completely irresponsible press.”
“I think there were gross abuses…and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI. I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith,” he told the network.
Barr also reiterated his position that the Trump campaign was spied on.
“It was clearly spied upon,” he said. “That’s what electronic surveillance is … going through people’s emails, wiring people up.”
Barr said it was the first time “counterintelligence techniques” had been used against a presidential campaign and said the bogus Russia probe threatened civil liberties.
“From a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government use the apparatus of the state … both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election.”
The Attorney General also criticized DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his report, claiming the IG accepted the FBI’s explanations for their misconduct without digging any deeper.
“All he said was, people gave me an explanation and I didn’t find anything to contradict it … he hasn’t decided the issue of improper motive,” said Barr. “I think we have to wait until the full investigation is done.”
Barr claimed one of the most egregious revelations was that the FBI’s “case collapsed after the election and they never told the [FISA] court and they kept on getting these renewals” to spy on Trump associates.
On Monday, after IG Horowitz released his FISA report, Barr released a statement in which he said the FBI launched its investigation into the Trump campaign “on the thinnest of suspicions.”
“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” said Barr. “It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source.”