While Barr Publicly Scolds Trump, His DOJ Is Quietly Investigating Those in the CIA Who Probed 2016 Russian Interference

 In C4ISR, GDI, Russia, Defense, Information
  • Attorney General William Barr, in an inter­view that aired Thursday, pub­licly rebuked President Donald Trump, saying that his tweets “make it impos­si­ble for me to do my job.”
  • Barr also main­tained his impar­tial­i­ty and stressed that Trump has “never” asked him “to do any­thing in a crim­i­nal case.”
  • On the same day as the inter­view, The New York Times pub­lished an arti­cle about the Justice Department’s probe into intel­li­gence agen­cies over the probe into Russia’s 2016 elec­tion inter­fer­ence.
  • The report claims that US District Attorney John Durham, who was appoint­ed by Barr to look into the ori­gins of the Russia probe, appeared to be pur­su­ing a theory that the CIA was hiding infor­ma­tion from other intel­li­gence agen­cies.
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Thursday and dis­missed Durham’s inves­ti­ga­tion as “kind of silly,” but said it adds fuel to crit­i­cism that Trump is using the depart­ment to go after his per­ceived polit­i­cal oppo­nents. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s home­page for more sto­ries.

In an inter­view that aired on ABC News on Thursday, Attorney General William Barr spoke out against President Donald Trump and his recent tweets aimed at the Department of Justice.

“I think it’s time to stop the tweet­ing about Department of Justice crim­i­nal cases,” Barr said, because they “make it impos­si­ble for me to do my job.”

“I’m not going to be bul­lied or influ­enced by any­body … whether it’s Congress, a news­pa­per edi­to­r­i­al board, or the pres­i­dent,” Barr added. “I’m going to do what I think is right. And you know … I cannot do my job here at the depart­ment with a con­stant back­ground com­men­tary that under­cuts me.”

In his inter­view, Barr main­tained his impar­tial­i­ty and stressed that Trump has “never” asked him “to do any­thing in a crim­i­nal case.”

On the same day, The New York Times pub­lished a report about the DOJ’s inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gins of the Russia probe. Barr appoint­ed US District Attorney John Durham to lead the probe. According to The Times, Durham has been inves­ti­gat­ing the CIA over its assess­ment that Russia wanted to help Trump win the 2016 elec­tion.

Sources told The Times the inves­ti­ga­tion looked into whether mem­bers of the CIA were trying to pre­vent other agen­cies from seeing highly-sen­si­tive secrets about their inves­ti­ga­tion. According to The Times, nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials have told Durham that the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty is typ­i­cal­ly reserved about shar­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, even with other agen­cies. 

Trump has pub­licly slammed the CIA and its offi­cials, includ­ing former direc­tor John Brennan, in an effort to push the nar­ra­tive that there is a col­lec­tive of US offi­cials con­spir­ing against him.  

Brennan on Thursday appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” and dis­missed the DOJ inves­ti­ga­tion as “kind of silly,” but said it adds fuel to crit­i­cism that Trump is using the depart­ment to go after his per­ceived polit­i­cal oppo­nents. 

“Is there a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion now on ana­lyt­ic judg­ments and the activ­i­ties of CIA in terms of trying to pro­tect our nation­al secu­ri­ty?” he said. “It clear­ly, I think, is anoth­er indi­ca­tion that Donald Trump is using the Department of Justice to go after his ene­mies any way he can.”

The Department of Justice did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for com­ment; the depart­ment “declined to talk about Mr. Durham’s work in mean­ing­ful detail,” The Times wrote.

Trump’s per­ceived influ­ence on the DOJ was under a micro­scope this week after fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors rec­om­mend­ed a seven to nine-year sen­tence for long­time Trump ally Roger Stone.

Trump derid­ed the sen­tenc­ing on Twitter as “a hor­ri­ble and very unfair sit­u­a­tion.” Barr and senior lead­er­ship over­ruled the pros­e­cu­tors’ sen­tenc­ing rec­om­men­da­tion in the case, which trig­gered a mass with­draw­al of the assis­tant US attor­neys assigned to the pros­e­cu­tion

Trump later slammed the US dis­trict judge pre­sid­ing over Stone’s case on Twitter, and called Stone’s sen­tenc­ing “A phony Mueller Witch Hunt dis­grace.” 

Source: Business Insider (Military & Defense)

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