Attorney General William Barr is preparing to launch an investigation into the ‘other side’ of the recently-closed Russia probe: accusations from Republicans that government agencies displayed political bias and broke the law while investigating Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” said Barr during a hearing on Tuesday, adding that he “hoped” to release Robert Mueller’s report “next week.”
During a second hearing on Wednesday, Barr said he believed “spying did occur” and said he wanted to make sure there was no “improper surveillance.” He also confirmed he would be working with FBI director Christopher Wray in examining the agency’s counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign.
“That’s great news he’s looking into how this whole thing got started back in 2016,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. “That’s something that has been really important to us. It’s what we’ve been calling for.”
Central to the investigation is the infamous Steele dossier – and how it was used as related to the Russia investigation and to the FBI’s warrant on Carter Page
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) on Tuesday asked Barr: “How it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for FISA order on a US citizen?”
Barr’s investigation is separate from that of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose investigation is expected to conclude in May or June.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has also promised to pursue the same investigation in the Judiciary Committee he leads.