In a wide-ranging interview with FOX NEWS’ Bret Baier, Attorney General Bill Barr offered an update on the criminal investigation into allegations of FISA fraud and other abuses of power on the part of the FBI. I joined Judge Jeanine Pirro on Sean Hannity’s TV show Tuesday night to discuss it, as well as the escalating anti-police rhetoric that dominated Tuesday’s news.
The portion of Barr’s interview dealing with the Durham investigation is in this segment.
Incidentally, the Barr interview comes on the heels of a huge uptick in Senate inquiries on the subject of FBI misconduct, by both the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, as I reported in this previous commentary, in case you didn’t see it. Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who chair these two committees, will finally be using subpoena power; Johnson has a long list of documents to examine and witnesses he intends to call. As I reported, Graham has been hitting some resistance from the FBI to his request to interview “Case Agent 1,” identified as Stephen Somma. Somma played a pivotal role in the set-up to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Anyway, in his interview with Baier, AG Barr made it clear –- in his calm, understated manner –- that he sees the investigation into the Trump campaign as “very aggressive” considering the “very thin, slender reed” that was the basis for undertaking it.
"It seemed that the Bureau was sort of spring-loaded at the end of July to drive in there and investigate a campaign,” he said, “and there really wasn’t much there to do that on. And that became more and more evident as they went by but they seem to have ignored all the exculpatory evidence that was building up and continue pell-mell to push it forward.”
I would add that “Case Agent 1” appears to be the lower-level person who was making that happen in the beginning by choosing the information that would --- or wouldn't --- go into the FISA warrant application against Page. Was he taking this initiative on his own, or was he given direction from higher-ups on the “7th Floor”?
Barr was also concerned that after the election, they went “right back at it,” even though the Steele dossier, the main evidence being used, “was falling apart.” They were even making it public that they were investigating Trump when it was “painfully obvious” that “there was nothing there.” He said in the interview that he was “very troubled” by what had been called to his attention, though he wouldn’t characterize it further than that. Getting into specifics would obviously be premature. But in general, he was blunt.
"Here’s the thing," he told Baier. "For the first time in American history, police organizations and the national security organizations were used to spy on a campaign, and there was no basis for it. The media largely drove that, and there were all kinds of sensational claims...being made about the President that could have affected the election. Later on, in his administration, there were actions taken that really appear to be efforts to sabotage...” He said if people wanted to accuse of him of being politicized for looking at this, then “so be it,” because “that’s the job of the attorney general.”
Judge Jeanine highlighted one particular comment made by Barr that might not get the attention it deserves, given all the necessary focus right now on our suffering cities and the attacks on police departments. But it should offer at least some reassurance to my more pessimistic readers who don’t expect anything to ever come of all this investigating in terms of criminal referrals. Barr said (paraphrasing) that the wheels of justice have been described as turning very slowly, and they do, but don’t think that means people are going to get away with it.
"This isn’t being driven by producing a report,” Barr said in the interview. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can hold accountable anyone who crossed the line and committed a criminal violation.” He said there will also be some form of report, though, to provide “public disclosure” of what happened. If certain people were involved whose prosecution might be seen as too political for him to touch --- you know who I mean --- I would hope the report will tell the world the COMPLETE narrative, citing every last bit of evidence against every last person implicated.
In my own comment to Sean, I went back to something said in a previous segment of his show to make a point about the FBI. The implication had been made that a person in poverty is more likely to be engaged in crime. As someone who grew up poor, I have to take exception with that. I made the point that all these officials at the FBI that Barr is looking at now are NOT poor and NOT poorly educated. It’s not a “money problem”; it’s a moral problem. Poor people are not predisposed towards crime just because they’re poor. I saw that comment as a slam on poor people, many of whom are scrupulously honest. I will add here that I’d put such people up against the likes of Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe any day.
Moving on...Most of the media failed to cover the "FBI" portion of Barr’s interview, choosing instead to focus on, say, discrepancies between his account of what happened in clearing Lafayette Square and what some reporters have said took place. (I’d link to some of these, but your head might explode.) That way, they didn’t have to cover what he said about the FBI at all.
Is it any wonder that MSNBC hired Lisa Page as an on-camera legal analyst?