Politics

Barr Hammers FBI Clinton Cadre's 'Gross Abuses'

The attorney general still questions "the agenda" of key FBI agents investigating Trump.

Nate Jackson · Dec. 11, 2019

Two days after dropping his lengthy report on FBI malfeasance and incompetence in its efforts to surveil and investigate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning.

Meanwhile, Democrats chose yesterday to unveil their underwhelming two articles of impeachment against Trump, and the House Judiciary Committee will vote today to advance them. It’s quite the juxtaposition, given that it reveals one thing: The swamp has been out to get Trump for a long time.

Some of Horowitz’s testimony will no doubt focus on the fact that Attorney General William Barr challenged Horowitz’s assessment that there was no evidence of political bias at play in the FBI’s myriad mistakes. “No evidence” … other than the inconvenient fact that every single “mistake” the FBI made worked against the opposition candidate (Trump) and for the party in power.

Barr called the FBI’s Trump probe a “travesty” that relied on “rubbish” and for which there’s a possibility of “bad faith.” He argued, “I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press. And I think that there were gross abuses of FISA and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI.”

The attorney general noted that the Trump campaign was “clearly spied upon” and that it marked “the first time in history that this has been done to a presidential campaign.” Moreover, the investigation and spying continued into Trump’s presidency. The fundamental question Barr asks is this: “What was the agenda after the election that kept [FBI agents] pressing ahead after their case collapsed? This is the president of the United States.”

As for establishing evidence of political bias, Barr said, “That’s why we have Durham.” He’s referencing the more important and wider-ranging probe led by federal prosecutor John Durham, who is looking into the origins of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence probe into Trump (the one former FBI Director James Comey lied to Congress about having started). Durham’s probe has become a criminal investigation, but Barr says Durham’s report is not due until “late spring, early summer” of 2020. Durham, too, publicly disagreed with Horowitz, and Barr rightly notes that’s because “he will have a broader appreciation of all the facts and a determination [on bias] can be made.” Until that report is out, Barr cautioned, “It would be premature to make any judgment, one way or the other.”

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