“The Department of Justice was being used as a political weapon” by a “willful if small group of people,” who used the claim of collusion with Russia in an attempt to “topple an administration.”
AG Barr tells the WSJ
Attorney General Bill Barr gave a phone interview to Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal, published Friday. He stated unequivocally that the DOJ was used by “a small group of people…to topple an administration.”
Barr also addressed his extensive efforts to keep the Hunter Biden probe secret, and he’s not a bit sorry he did.
He began by noting that “Nobody wants to take responsibility anymore.”
Disbelieving, he told Ms. Strassel, “They wring their hands and push issues around the bureaucracy and trade memos for months.” His response: “Bring it to me! I’ll make the decision. That’s what I’m here for!”
THE DOJ WAS USED AS A POLITICAL WEAPON
He took the position of attorney general because “The Department of Justice was being used as a political weapon” by a “willful if small group of people,” who used the claim of collusion with Russia in an attempt to “topple an administration,” he says.
“Someone had to make sure that the power of the department stopped being abused and that there was accountability for what had happened.”
One Standard of Justice
Mr. Barr describes an overarching objective of ensuring that there is “one standard of justice.” That, he says, is why he appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the FBI’s 2016 Crossfire Hurricane probe. “Of course, the Russians did bad things in the election,” he says. “But the idea that this was done with the collusion of the Trump campaign—there was never any evidence. It was entirely made up.”
Mr. Barr also saw no “improper CIA activity” or “foreign government activity before July 2016.”
The now-retired attorney general says Mr. Durham’s probe is tightly focused on “the conduct of Crossfire Hurricane, the small group at the FBI that was most involved in that,” as well as “the activities of certain private actors.” (Mr. Barr doesn’t elaborate.)
Mr. Durham has publicly stated he’s not convinced the FBI team had an adequate “predicate” to launch an investigation. In September, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified a document showing that the FBI was warned in 2016 that the Hillary Clinton campaign might be behind the “collusion” claims.
Mr. Barr says Mr. Durham is also looking at the January 2017 intelligence-community “assessment” that claimed Russia had “developed a clear preference” for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election. He confirms that most of the substantive documents related to the FBI’s investigation have now been made public.
Also outrageous, in Mr. Barr’s view, was the abuse of power by both the FBI and the Mueller team toward Mr. Trump’s associates, especially Mr. Flynn.
HE’S NOT SORRY ABOUT KEEPING THE HUNTER PROBE SECRET
Mr. Barr is not sorry for keeping the probe of Hunter Biden secret. He didn’t see “decisive evidence of a serious crime against a candidate.” In the absence of those conditions, he said there is a. “damn good reason” for the rule that protects citizens.
“Think about the power it would give the federal bureaucracy,” he says. “The standard for investigating someone is low. So just gin up an investigation, make it public, affect every election.”
Mr. Barr says Mr. Durham’s appointment should not have been necessary. Mr. Mueller’s investigation should have exposed FBI malfeasance. Instead, “the Mueller team seems to have been ready to blindly accept anything fed to it by the system,” Mr. Barr says, adding that this “is exactly what DOJ should not be.”
Mr. Durham hadn’t finished his work, and he believes “the force of circumstances will ensure it goes public” even under the new administration.
HE DIDN’T FINISH HIS WORK
Barr had planned to stay on in a second Trump term to work on issues like this. He is worried about the onslaught of synthetic drugs and increasingly powerful Mexican cartels.
He’s also sorry he won’t be able to continue pushing a zero-tolerance policy toward “violence in our political process.” He’s skeptical the Biden administration will deal effectively with the growing power of big tech companies, in particular the problem of censorship.
His advice for the new administration is to take charge and not let the “bureaucracy run itself.”