William Barr

October 2, 2019 – Senator Mark Warner says AG Barr is endangering relationships with key U.S. allies

Senator Warner lobby’s against William Barr’s nomination as AG in January, 2019. (Credit: public domain)

“Attorney General William Barr is harming America’s relationships with its closest allies by pressuring them to produce intelligence about the Russia investigation in an effort to help President Trump politically, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee charged Thursday in an exclusive interview with NBC News.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who has presided with his Republican counterpart over a two-year, bipartisan investigation into 2016 election interference efforts, said Barr’s outreach to foreign governments, confirmed by the Department of Justice, threatens to undermine decades of U.S. intelligence sharing.

“U.S. intelligence leaders have expressed their concerns to me privately on this,” said Warner, who is committee vice-chairman. “This idea that Australia’s intelligence product might be being used to go after a political opponent in domestic American politics… That’s just not what the intelligence community is about.”

The senator said he is particularly worried about the foreign requests and their impact on an intelligence-sharing pact known as the Five Eyes, which includes the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. Those countries cooperate extremely closely, sharing communications intercepts and other intelligence.

“Throughout the last 75 years, every administration has valued the sanctity of the five eyes relationship,” Warner said. “It appears this administration doesn’t value that relationship because if you did, you wouldn’t ask your allies for their intelligence for political purposes.”

Warner added: “Can you imagine if the CIA was asked to provide damaging evidence on a political opponent in Australia? There would be outrage in our political establishment.” (Read more: NBC News, 10/02/2019) (Mark Warner Tagged)

September 27, 2019 – Italian officials provide an audio recording of Joseph Mifsud’s deposition to AG Barr

(Credit: Communities Digital News)

“Attorney General William Barr reportedly listened to an audio recording of the mysterious professor at the center of the special counsel’s probe during a surprise trip last week to Italy.

Barr met with Italian intelligence officials during the trip, The Daily Beast reported citing Italian officials, and John Durham accompanied him. Durham is a federal prosecutor who is leading an inquiry into FBI and CIA intelligence-gathering activities related to the Trump campaign.

A source in Italy’s Ministry of Justice said that Italian officials played a tape for Barr and Durham, according to The Daily Beast. Another source said the Italians showed the U.S. officials other evidence related to Joseph Mifsud, who was once a Maltese diplomat and has held university positions in the U.K. and Italy.

The tape was a deposition that Mifsud gave after applying for police protection explaining why he might be in harm’s way, according to The Beast. The report said Italian Ministry of Justice records show that Mifsud applied for police protection.

Mifsud was scrutinized in the special counsel’s investigation because of his relationship in 2016 with George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide. Papadopoulos said Mifsud told him during an April 26, 2016 meeting in London that he had learned from Russian government officials that Russia had “dirt” on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

(…) The special counsel portrayed Mifsud as a possible Russian agent; however, the Malta-born mystery man also has close ties to Western diplomats. He has visited the U.S. State Department and held a position at Rome’s Link Campus University, which has close ties to Western intelligence agencies.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/02/2019)  (Archive)

September 09, 2019 – The Justice Department seeks McCabe’s text messages on FBI probe; former FBI agent Jeffrey Danik filed a FOIA two years ago for same communications

Jeffrey Danik and Robert Mueller (Credit: public domain)

“The Department of Justice is seeking former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s text messages and according to government sources, those will play a significant role in understanding the FBI’s probe into both President Donald Trump’s campaign and the bureaus’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send government emails.

Lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to get the text messages during the litany of Congressional investigations that have culminated in Attorney General William Barr appointing Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to investigate the FBI’s handling of the election probe. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, R-CA, said his committee was stymied by the FBI when they attempted to retrieve McCabe’s communications.

“The House Intelligence Committee tried to get the McCabe texts in the last Congress, but we were stonewalled,” Nunes told SaraACarter.com on Monday. “This is the kind of issue that really needs more transparency. There’s been too much unnecessary secrecy surrounding the entire Russia investigation- the American people deserve to know exactly what happened.”

The text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his then lover FBI attorney Lisa Page were regarded as a trove of information for congressional investigators. Page and Strzok’s text messages were turned over and for the most part – other than the details of the pairs private romantic relationship- to lawmakers during the congressional probes. The lawmakers were able to read the texts as part of the ongoing investigations either in-camera or when certain portions were declassified and made public.

(…)  Judicial Watch also sought the text messages earlier this year. The government watchdog group filed a motion in May to obtain McCabe’s text messages on behalf of FBI supervisory special agent Jeffery Danik.

Danik, who served 28 years in the FBI, filed a motion against the Department of Justice last year for refusing a Freedom of Information Act Request to turn over the texts, as well as McCabe’s FBI emails. Danik had originally filed a FOIA to obtain the communications two years ago.” (Read more: SaraACarter, 9/09/2019)

August 23, 2019 – Details behind Patrick Byrne’s allegations of FBI/DOJ “political espionage”

Former CEO Patrick Byrne has given four primary interviews where he outlines his knowledge of a 2015 and 2016 political espionage operation being run by the FBI.

Fox News, MacCallum – Fox Business #1 – Fox Business #2 – CNN, Cuomo

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

After a review of the interviews, and extracting specific points therein, here’s an overview.

The substance of Mr. Byrne’s claims does seem to align with what we already know about the DOJ and FBI activity during the 2016 election cycle, including the FBI operations.

First, Patrick Byrne claims he has spoken to the DOJ on April 5th, 2019, and again on April 30th, 2019.  Mr. Byrne states he told the DOJ all of the information he was aware of during those two interviews covering approximately seven hours of questioning.

The current public statements Mr. Byrne is making are not with the approval of the DOJ or any investigators therein.  His decision to go public with this information comes as a result of conversations with a life-long mentor and confidant, Warren Buffett.  Mr. Byrne states he has known Warren Buffett since Byrne was a teenager and Mr. Buffett was in his mid-forties.

According to his CNN interview Byrne talked to Buffett in about how he could be a witness in the DOJ investigation authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr and being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham.  After listening to the details, Buffett recommended Mr. Byrne go public with the story.

However, in order to go public Byrne would need to separate himself from his role as CEO of Overstock, the company Byrne founded.  Mr. Byrne resigned yesterday, August 22nd.

Byrne explains he told Buffett about his April conversations with the DOJ and Buffett said it didn’t matter… Byrne still needed to go public with the story. It sounds like there are several motives for going public; perhaps one is personal safety.

To verify his April DOJ discussion, Byrne points to two references:

♦First, the movement of Maria Butina from harsh isolation in prison on May 9th, ten days after he delivered his testimony to the DOJ.  According to Byrne Ms. Butina was moved to a very different White Collar facility based on his information.

♦The second reference point Byrne highlights is the May 13th DOJ appointment of John Durham to look into the origination of the Russia investigation events. Byrne says this too was a direct result of his two DOJ sessions April 5th and 30th.

If Byrne is accurate; and if his claims of him personally being an operative of the FBI with instructions to engage Ms. Butina inside the political espionage events structured by corrupt FBI officials are genuine; it would appear Special Counsel Robert Mueller facilitated throwing a bag over Ms Butina in an effort to keep the corrupt FBI intelligence operation hidden from the public. This would explain the Mueller demand for strict solitary isolation and confinement.  (The reports are indeed troubling)

Again, if Byrne is correct, it would appear that extremely significant and exculpatory Brady material -evidence that could easily prove an entrapment defense- was intentionally withheld from Ms. Butina’s defense team.   Alarmingly this points to ongoing corrupt officials that still remain inside the current DOJ.  Ms. Butina was collateral damage.


View on Scribd

A review of the time-frame details provided by Patrick Byrne in the four interviews shows his story told four times is consistent each time.

Here’s a brief review of the consistencies aspect:

After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.

Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences.  The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign.  Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.

Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.

[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign.  The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]

In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.

The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016.  Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.

In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.

It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”.   Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.

In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok.   Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].

This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.

In essence, these rank-and-file FBI agents were asking Patrick Byrne to be a civilian handler of a Russian national, and instructing him to carry out a covert counterintelligence operation.  The FBI agents were apologetic about asking a civilian to take on such a role.

Maria Butina (Credit: Anton Novoderezhkin/ Zuma Press)

♦ Ms. Maria Butina is described as a young Russian idealist, who had strong connections to high powered Russian oligarchs.

The purpose of Butina coming to the U.S., as explained by Byrne, was for her to engage with influential Americans for contacts that could provide geopolitical value to the oligarchs.

Patrick Byrne was seen as important to Ms. Butina due to his connections to the emerging financial structures of crypto-currency and block-chain.  Byrne is a libertarian who believes in small government, and is somewhat of a disruptor in the business world. Ms. Butina wanted to introduce Byrne to her friends in Russia.

While it was not outlined in any of the four interviews, alternative currency options to the U.S. dollar have been an ongoing effort of Russian interests for a while.  Russia considers global trade attached to the dollar as geopolitical problem; and they have been working for years on alternative currencies for trade (and their own wealth) that can avoid U.S. sanctions and the reach of the U.S. treasury.

♦ As a Russian national with specific Russian interests that are not in alignment with U.S. national interests, Maria Butina would be defined by the U.S. intelligence community as an ‘agent of a foreign power’.   Her status would mean unrestricted monitoring by the U.S. intelligence community would be entirely legal.

However, because of this ‘foreign agent’ status Ms. Butina could also be valuable as a virus to infect anyone the U.S. intelligence apparatus would wish to target domestically.  This motive appears to be the reason for the FBI to tell Mr. Byrne where to send Ms. Butina.

Conducting FISA-702(16)(17) database searches and surveillance on U.S. persons who would meet with Butina would be justifiable and legal.

Extended contact with any U.S. person could likely lead to a Title-1 surveillance warrant through the FISA court.  However, even without the warrant, 702 searches would be valid just from brief contact.

As we have shown FISA-702(“16” to-from) and (“17” about) queries were off the charts during the time-frame of November 2015 through May 2016.  Per the FISA audit conducted by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, after the flags noted by the database compliance officer, 85% of the search returns were unauthorized and unmasked.

The time-frames here are too coincidental to be accidental. [Judge Collyer Report]

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/22/2019)

Update: On August 23, 2019, CNN  includes James Comey and Andrew McCabe’s response to Mr. Byrne’s claims:

Byrne’s story, as told to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time,” and in earlier interviews broadcast on Fox Business News and Fox News, also includes allegations that top officials in the Obama administration, including James Comey, the former FBI director, approved of the bureau’s requests of him.

It has not been verified by the agencies, and spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Reached Thursday evening by CNN, Comey called Byrne’s claim “ridiculous.”

“The FBI doesn’t work that way,” Comey said.

Former FBI deputy director and CNN contributor Andrew McCabe said he hadn’t heard of Byrne until the former CEO revealed his relationship with Butina.

“His allegation that his potential cooperation with the FBI was somehow discussed at the highest levels certainly never happened when I was there,” McCabe, who held the No. 2 role at the agency beginning in 2016 until his firing in 2018, said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”

McCabe said it was “certainly possible” that Byrne volunteered information about Butina to the FBI, but disputed the claim that agents would have told Byrne to “engage in a romantic relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent.”

“That is simply not the sort of thing that the FBI does,” McCabe said.”

(Read more: CNN, 8/23/2019)

July 28, 2019 – Rep. John Ratcliffe says it is clear crimes were committed by government officials in the Obama administration

“With the Justice Department conducting a review of that operation, Rep. John Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview Sunday that he trusts Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to provide answers.

And while Ratcliffe said he does not want to prematurely accuse any specific person of a crime — as Democrats have done with President Trump — he stressed that it is clear crimes were committed by people during the Obama administration, including government officials.

“I think the first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t do what the Democrats have done,” the Texas Republican told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. “They accused Donald Trump of a crime and then they try and reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation. So I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime, I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is that it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”

(…) Ratcliffe recommended three leads for the “investigation of the investigators.”

The first related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “You talked earlier about Michael Flynn. His phone call with the Russian ambassador was a highly classified NSA intercept. Someone in the Obama administration leaked that call to the Washington Post. That’s a felony,” he said.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in February 2018 that the Justice Department was investigating that leak, and that he was overseeing the inquiry himself. “I am directing it personally and we’re pursuing it aggressively,” Sessions said at the time.

Ratcliffe suggested investigators also look into conflicting congressional testimony between Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm behind British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was full of unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia and was used extensively by the FBI in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify surveillance of Page. Ohr acted as an unofficial back channel between Steel and the FBI. “Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS in talking about the Steele dossier, said under oath that he and Bruce Ohr did not meet until after the election. Bruce Ohr said under oath that they met three months before the election. One of them is not telling the truth. We need a process to identify that,” Ratcliffe said.

The third area of interest, Ratcliffe said, is former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on his interactions with Trump before he was fired in May 2017. “Where it all started, Jim Comey. He admitted that he leaked his confidential conversations with the president to a reporter. Did that include classified information? We need a fair processes to find out answers to that,” Ratcliffe said.” (Read more:  Washington Examiner, 7/28/2019)

July 26, 2019 – DOJ’s Russia probe review focusing on ‘smoking gun’ tapes of meeting with George Papadopoulos

George Papadopoulos leaves federal prison on December 7, 2018, after serving 12 days. (Credit: public domain)

“The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.

The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.

The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

“I think it’s the smoking gun,” the source said.

“These recordings have exculpatory evidence,” the other source added. “It is standard tradecraft to record conversations with someone like Papadopoulos—especially when they are overseas and there are no restrictions.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/26/2019)

July 5, 2019 – Reluctant witnesses in FISA abuse probe agree to talk to DOJ inspector general

Michael Horowitz (Credit: Getty Images)

“Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.

Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

While the investigative phase of the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.

(…) A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/05/2019)

June 20, 2019 – The Justice Department allows Congress to view the Rosenstein Scope Memos

Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr.

(…)  The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. (read more)

York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“…  Good grief, seriously?  Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them.  I digress.

The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. However, the released Weissmann/Mueller report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The second  scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, (outlined here), and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.

The third scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the third scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.

As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:

This third scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally and strategically (you’ll see why), this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.

With Paul Manafort outlined as an investigative target in the original authorization and the second scope memo, the third scope memo authorizes expansion to his business partner Richard Gates and their joint businesses. This memo also permits the investigation of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and all of his interests; and in ultimate weasel sunlight, Rosenstein authorizes an investigation of his boss, AG Jeff Sessions.

Before getting to more targets, notice the underlined passage about starting with a lot of investigative material because the special counsel was picking up a Russian interference investigation that had been ongoing for “nearly 10 months.”

I would also note that our CTH research indicates all of the illegally extracted FISA-702(16)(17) database search results would be part of this pre-existing investigative file available immediately to Weissmann and Mueller. However, in order to use the search-query evidence, Weissmann and Mueller would need to backfill some alternate justification; or find another way to “rediscover” the preexisting results….. I digress

The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):

General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication“EC” to FBI Director James Comey.” (Read more: The Conservative Treehouse, 6/20/2019)

June 10, 2019 – DOJ outlines to Congress its investigation of the investigators

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd (Credit: Wikipedia)

“The Justice Department’s investigation of the investigators involved in the Trump-Russia probe will look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.

That’s what the agency said Monday, telling Congress its review is “broad in scope and multifaceted” in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The DOJ said the wide-ranging inquiry led by Attorney General William Barr, along with his right-hand man U.S. Attorney John Durham, would seek to “illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

The letter made it clear that DOJ’s review is not limited just to their specific agency, but would also scrutinize the intelligence community as a whole. The letter stated that the DOJ review team had already asked certain intelligence community agencies to preserve records, make witnesses available, and start putting together documents that the DOJ would need to carry out its inquiry.

And the DOJ made it clear that they weren’t just looking to see if policies were violated — they’ll be looking at whether any laws were broken, too.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/10/2019)

(…) “Following the planned release of a classified memo by Republican staffers regarding FISA warrants during the 2016 election, also dubbed the Nunes memo, Boyd wrote a letter writing that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo. In his letter, Boyd also asked “why the Committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the intelligence community” and went on to mention that the Justice Department was “currently unaware of any wrongdoing relating to the FISA process,” but that such allegations would be taken seriously, writing “we agree that any abuse of that system cannot be tolerated.”  President Donald Trump was reportedly furious following Boyd’s letter.  According to Bloomberg, President Donald Trump viewed Boyd’s letter as “another example of the department undermining him and blocking GOP efforts to expose the political motives behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe” and “intensified Trump’s concern that his own department is undercutting him”  (Wikipedia)

May 31, 2019 – AG William Barr gives a clear explanation of the various “investigations of the investigators” carried out by the Justice Department

Michael Horowitz (l), John Huber (c) and John Durham

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)