Attorney General William Barr has arguably been the most productive member of President Donald Trump’s administration.
And he just proved that again with a brand new restriction on FBI investigations into presidential campaigns.
During a news conference, Barr said he will raise the threshold for launching counterintelligence probes into presidential campaigns after a report from the Justice Department inspector general highlighted errors made at the start of an investigation involving Donald Trump’s camp.
From here on, all investigations into presidential candidates or their campaigns will need the signatures of the attorney general and the FBI director.
“We’re considering a number of additional things, and [FBI Director] Chris Wray and I have discussed a number of possibilities,” Barr said.
But “one of the things that we have agreed on is that the opening of a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on and the attorney general would have to sign off on.”
Justice Department lawyers previously would review applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court and approve any investigations.
Barr’s new rule comes after the release of the long-awaited FISA spy report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which detailed the reasoning for the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
The IG audit on the FISA Application report detailed the reasoning for the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Below are some high-points of what Horowitz found:
- There was extreme bias against then-candidate Trump.
- The FBI deliberately doctored evidence it presented to the nation’s top spy court in order to gain authority to spy on a key Trump affiliate.
- The FBI and the Justice Department’s review committee failed to comply with attorney general guidelines requiring timely validation.
- Investigators uncovered issues with FBI employees who conducted validation reviews, noting they did not “review the full scope” of a long-term source’s work for the FBI.
- The inspector general found “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” concerning FBI efforts to obtain secret FISA warrants against brief Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Shortly after the report went public, Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham — the prosecutor leading the investigation into the overall Russia investigation — disagreed with the findings in the IG report that there was “no political bias” in the FBI opening the probe.
Barr and Durham’s investigation is going to send shock waves.
Last month, we learned that Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation had shifted into a criminal inquiry.
This means that Barr and Durham now have the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury, and file criminal charges.
It certainly appears that Barr and Durham have already found evidence of criminal wrongdoing regarding the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.
They wouldn’t have turned their investigation into criminal inquiry if there wasn’t evidence of Obama officials potentially breaking the law.
Barr and Durham have also flipped a top Comey-Obama ally, who is now working with the DOJ and assisting in the probe.