Attorney General William Barr sat down with NBC News a day after the release of IG Michael Horowitz’s report on the FISA warrants on Carter Page and the origins of the Russia probe.

Barr openly dismissed the findings in the report, mainly because it did not go deep enough, but also ripped the FBI and the press.

I consider this the most important quote:

“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,” Barr said. He added that this was the first time in history that “counterintelligence techniques” were used against a presidential campaign.

It is frightening. Look at what Professor Jacobson wrote a few nights ago: “If you were as deceptive with the FBI, as the FBI was with the FISA court, how quickly would you be charged?”

It’s scary to think about what else they’re doing behind closed doors.

Barr also went after the press:

“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 a completely irresponsible press,” Barr said. “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.”

NBC News pointed out that Barr’s remarks will likely “stoke further debate about whether the attorney general is acting in good faith, or as a political hatchet man for Trump.”

But the fact is no one has ever found direct evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia:

“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.”

Barr claimed the FBI’s Russia probe “collapsed after the election and they never told the court and they kept on getting these renewals.”

Horowitz’s report never mentioned this, but it could come to light in US Attorney John Durham’s investigation. He is also investigating the origins of the Russia probe, but he has a larger scope than Horowitz.

While Horowitz found that the opening of the probe lawful, but Barr insists the FBI only had “flimsy” evidence:

He said the basis for opening the Russia investigation was “flimsy” because it stemmed solely from a report of a statement by a young aide, George Papadopoulos, who said he was offered Democratic emails by a Russian agent and didn’t report the conversation to the FBI.

“They jumped right into a full-scale investigation before they even went to talk to the foreign officials about exactly what was said…. They opened an investigation into the campaign and they used very intrusive techniques,” Barr said.

Durham, like Barr, disagreed with Horowitz’s findings.

It will be interesting to discover the results of Durham’s investigation. It has also become a criminal investigation, which opens the doors for Durham to “subpoena witnesses, file charges, and impanel fact-finding grand juries.”

 
 
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