Attorney General William Barr said U.S. Attorney John Durham’s team investigating the origins of the Russia hoax have continued to work “very aggressively” in recent months despite the judiciary being shut down over the pandemic and accountability to those who launched a deep-state coup.
For months, Barr’s handpicked Connecticut prosecutor has been investigating the roots of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, where the nation’s top security officials abused their power to conduct illegal surveillance on American citizens to undermine the Trump campaign and eventually, his entire presidency.
“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. And the media largely drove that and all kinds of sensational claims were being made about the president that could have affected the election,” Barr said on Fox News’ “Special Report” with Bret Baier. “And then later on in his administration, there were actions taken that really appear to be efforts to sabotage his campaign, and that has to be looked at, and if people want to say that I’m political because I am looking at those potential abuses of power, so be it. But that’s the job of the attorney general.”
Barr didn’t say whether Durham’s team had found crimes committed, but said it would likely be “eye opening for Americans.”
“I’m very troubled by what has been called to my attention so far but I’m not going to characterize it,” said Barr.
When it came to the Obama administration’s highly unusual unmasking of American citizens federal officials were spying on, Barr said they were indicative of malintent on part of the deep-state operations. Last month, then-acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a list of names who sought to unmask from the National Security Agency (NSA) former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn based on conversations with the Russian ambassador. Those names, released to the public by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin include former CIA Director John Brennan, former DNI Director James Clapper, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Unmasking is not by itself, illegal. But the patterns of unmasking can tell us something at any given point of time,” Barr said. “For example, let’s say suppose for a period in the spring , there was a lot of heavy unmasking done on people involved with the Trump campaign. That would be very relevant as what people were thinking at that time and what their motivations were.”
Barr also charged U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of being a “shadow prosecutor” by refusing to drop the federal charges against Flynn after prosecutors moved to dismiss the case.
“It’s always been understood that decisions whether to pursue an individual through the prosecution process and we’re holding them criminally accountable is vested in the executive branch and not the courts,” Barr said.
Other areas that Barr discussed in the ongoing probe into Crossfire Hurricane included whether FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who fabricated evidence against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, still worked at the bureau.
Barr confirmed he did not, but would not offer any further details such as whether there were charges.
“The wheels of justice grind slow,” Barr said. “They do grind slow because we have due process and we follow the process but people should not draw from the fact that no action has been taken.”
Barr also told Fox News the administration was seeking ways to peel back liability protections for social media companies under Section 230 of Communications Decency Act. Last week, Trump signed an executive order targeting the 26-word passage to curb its power in shielding online publishers from illegal third party content.