Damning! FBI talked to Russians but not Donald Trump

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Attorney General Bill Barr was interviewed on Monday by NBC News’ Pete Williams and the CEO Council interviewer Gerry Baker. During both interviews, he made it clear that he disagrees with the conclusions of the Inspector General’s report.

While the Inspector General uncovered evidence of malfeasance, bias, and corruption, he labeled it all mistakes, errors, and omissions. His conclusion was that there was no political bias and the Russia-Trump probe originated with justifiable cause although it originated with the thinnest of reasons — a chance meeting in a bar between a volunteer on the Trump campaign and an Australian diplomat.

Attorney General Bill Barr gave a rather damning interview about the investigation into Russia-Trump collusion which he believes originated without cause, continued without cause, and ended in a “bogus narrative.”

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years. I think based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press,” the Attorney General said.

He hasn’t looked into the Ukraine situation at all.

MEDIA DISINFORMATION

The Attorney General wasn’t pleased by the disinformation from the media. They lied all weekend.

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THE INVESTIGATORS ONLY SPOKE WITH RUSSIANS

He found it hard to get over the fact that the investigators spoke with the Russians, but not the President.

“And what I find particularly inexplicable is that they talked to the Russians, but not to the presidential campaign. On August 4th, Brennan braced the head of Russian intelligence, he calls the head of Russian intelligence and says we know what you’re up to, you better stop it. He did it again later in August,” Barr told the interviewer.

“And then President Obama talked to President Putin in September and said we know what you’re up to, you better cut it out. So they go and confront the Russians, who clearly are the bad guys, and they won’t go and talk to the campaign say, you know, what is this about?”

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IT’S A DIFFERENT STANDARD

Barr explained that he operates under a very different standard from that of the Inspector General. Mr. Horowitz only questions the employees involved and accepts their answers. That is how far it goes.

“Well, what he actually — I think you have to understand what the IG’s methodology is. And I think it’s the appropriate methodology for the inspector general. He starts with limited information, he can only talk to people who are essentially there as employees and he’s limited to the information generally in the FBI. But his approach is to say, if I get an explanation from the people I’m investigating, that is not unreasonable on its face, then I will accept it as long as there’s not contradictory testimonial or documentary evidence.”

“In other words, it’s a very different standard. And all he said is people give me an explanation and I didn’t find anything to contradict it. So I don’t have a basis for saying that there was improper motive. But he hasn’t decided the issue of improper motive.”

WITHHOLDING EXCULPATORY INFORMATION

The FBI withheld exculpatory information. They didn’t have probable cause so they used the fake Steel dossier, Barr told interviewer Gerry Baker at the CEO Council.

“The — remember — they say, we’re not going to talk to the campaign, we’re going to send people in, wire them up and have them talk to the individuals. That happened. That happened in August, September, and October.”

“And it all came back exculpatory. People say I don’t know what you are talking about. Not only exculpatory as to the relationship with the Russians, but as to specific facts and that A, they never did anything about that, they just pressed ahead, but B, they never informed the court.”

“They were told they didn’t have probable cause to get a warrant and so took the Steele dossier, which they had done nothing to verify and they used that to get the warrant, to just collapse everything. They withheld from the court all the exculpatory information and they withheld from the court information about the lack of reliability of Steele.”

THE QUESTIONS TO COME

During an interview was with Pete Williams of NBC News, Williams asked what “questions will John Durham address that the Inspector General didn’t?”

“Well, Durham is looking at the whole waterfront,” Barr said. “He’s looking at the issue of how it got started. He’s looking at whether or not the narrative of — of Trump being involved in the Russian interference actually preceded July, and was, in fact, the precipitating trigger for the investigation. He’s also looking at the conduct of the investigation. There are some things that were done in the investigation that are not included in Horowitz’s report. And he’s looking at those things.”

“But also a few weeks ago, I told him that he should spend just as much attention on the post-election period. And I did that because of some of the stuff that Horowitz has uncovered, which to me is inexplicable.”

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THE SPIES

Williams asked, “Based on what you know so far is it still — do you still stand by your statement that the campaign was spied upon?”

“Oh, it was clearly spied upon,” Barr said. “I mean, that’s what electronic surveillance is. I think wiring people up to go in and talk to people and make recordings of their conversations is spying. I think going through people’s emails which they did as a result of the FISA warrant.”

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SOMETIMES CANDIDATES TALK WITH FOREIGN POWERS

Not everything is nefarious, Barr pointed out. He explained that the probe started with flimsy evidence.

“We have to remember, in today’s world, presidential campaigns are frequently in contact with foreign persons. And indeed, in most campaigns, there are signs of illegal foreign money coming in. And we don’t automatically assume that the campaigns are nefarious and traitors and acting illegally with foreign powers.”

“There has to be some basis before we use these very potent powers in our core First Amendment activity. And here, I felt this was very flimsy. Basically, I think the department has a rule of reason, which is at the end of the day, is what you’re relying on sufficiently powerful to justify the techniques you’re using. And the question there is, how strong is the evidence? How sensitive is the activity you’re looking at? And what are the alternatives?”

“And I think when you step back here and say, what was this all based on? It’s not sufficient. Remember, there was and never has been any evidence of collusion. And yet this campaign and the president’s administration has been dominated by this investigation into what turns out to be completely baseless.”

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