In an interview with CBS’s Jan Crawford, Barr described what tasks U.S. Attorney John Durham, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and U.S. Attorney John Huber have been assigned regarding the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and the conduct of the DOJ and FBI as they carried it out.
(…) Barr said Huber “was essentially on standby” in the event that Horowitz “referred a matter to him to be handled criminally.” That apparently has not been necessary, as Barr said: “he has not been active on this front in recent months.” Barr said Durham would now be taking over Huber’s role in handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz and Huber’s involvement with Trump-Russia matters was done.
Sessions had also asked Huber in 2017 to look into issues related to the sale of Uranium One and allegations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been improperly involved in the process, as well as broader claims of corruption at the Clinton Foundation. Barr seemed to suggest that what evidence Huber found, if any, may soon be revealed.
“The other issues [Huber has] been working on relate to Hillary Clinton” are “winding down and hopefully we’ll be in a position to bring those to fruition,” Barr said.
In regards to the DOJ inspector general investigation, Barr said he would not describe Horowitz’s role as small, but rather as very specific. “He’s looking at a discrete area that is, you know, important, which is the use of electronic surveillance that was targeted at Carter Page,” Barr said. Page was a former Trump campaign adviser who was surveilled by the DOJ and the FBI for months beginning in October 2016.
(…) Barr, who has said that Horowitz’s probe should be ending in May or June, called him a “superb government official” in this latest interview, but pointed out that Horowitz “has limited powers.”
“He doesn’t have the power to compel testimony, he doesn’t have the power really to investigate beyond the current cast of characters at the Department of Justice,” Barr said. “His ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the department is very limited.”
That’s why Barr said he selected Durham, a U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to head up DOJ’s newest inquiry. Barr was recently given broad declassification authority by Trump, and Durham will have greater investigative powers than Horowitz has at his disposal. Barr praised Durham, saying, “He has, over the years, been used by both Republican and Democratic attorneys general to investigate these kinds of activities. And he’s always gotten the most laudatory feedback from his work. So there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to conduct a thorough and fair review of this.”
Barr defended his scrutiny of the actions of the DOJ and FBI in his interview, saying, “I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our … First Amendment liberties in this country.”
“And what was the predicate for it? What was the hurdle that had to be crossed? What was the process? Who had to approve it? And including the electronic surveillance, whatever electronic surveillance was done? And was everyone operating in their proper lane?” Barr asked.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 5/31/2019)