In an hour-long interview with CBS News’ Jan Crawford released on Friday, Attorney General William Barr reflected on the Russia investigation, the Robert Mueller report, the personal attacks against him, and his career at the Department of Justice.
Barr laid into the abuses of power happening among top officials at the FBI, the lack of evidence found by Mueller’s investigation, and the media hypocrisy exposed by coverage of stories like the “appalling” texts between FBI agent lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
“Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy,” Barr said. “So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus.”
Barr has been critiqued for seeking to declassify documents concerning the Russia investigation. He argued that reviewing standards and procedures at the highest levels are an “important way of making sure that government power is being conscientiously and properly applied.”
When Crawford asked if he was concerned with bias among FBI investigators, Barr said the Strzok-Page texts were “very damning” and argued that there would be an outrage if the same stunts had been pulled against the Obama campaign.
“If those kinds of discussions were held, you know, when Obama first ran for office, people talking about Obama in those tones and suggesting that ‘Oh that he might be a Manchurian candidate for Islam or something like that.’ You know some wild accusations like that, and you had that kind of discussion back and forth, you don’t think we would be hearing a lot more about it?” he asked.
When Crawford asked Barr about attacks on his reputation, the attorney general gave a stoic response.
“I am at the end of my career,” Barr said. “Everyone dies and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?”
Barr said he does not regret taking the job, but that he knew it would “only be a matter of time” before he would be attacked for “behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them.” He said, “nowadays, people don’t care about the merits and the substance.”
Barr argued for the importance of institutions like the DOJ and the FBI, but said he does not think President Trump is the one responsible for their demise.
“I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that,” he said. “The idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that ‘We have to stop this president,’ that is where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring.”