Bill Barr issues new restriction on FBI investigations into presidential campaigns

Late last year, Inspector General Michael Horowitz tabled a report on the Trump-Russia investigation code-named Crossfire Hurricane.

It revealed that the operation was based on flimsy and false evidence. Now, Attorney General Bill Barr has launched a crack-down to ensure that something similar doesn’t happen again.

Increasing transparency

“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,” Barr said on January 13.

The justification provided for Crossfire Hurricane came in the form of the now-discredited Steele Dossier. A collection of rumors and salacious allegations compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which was in part funded by the Clinton campaign.

Aside from the dossier, no evidence has been put forth to show that then-candidate Trump or members of his campaign colluded with the Russian government, a fact that the attorney general has expressed frustration over.

“No basis to these allegations”

“To lead to the conclusion that it showed knowledge of a later hack into the DNC was a pretty aggressive conclusion. I just think that by the time the president entered office — around that time — it was becoming clear that there was no basis to these allegations — not just the dossier falling apart, but the information that they were relying [on] as to … Papadopoulos,” The Washington Times quoted Barr as saying.

Barr was referring to a meeting between Australian diplomat Alexander Downer and Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.

Downer told officials at the US embassy in London told that he and Papadopoulos had discussed the possibility that Russia possessed a trove of emails stolen from former Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos himself received this information from Joseph Mifsud, a Malta-based academic who had just traveled from Moscow.

“They jumped right into a full-scale investigation before they even went to talk to the foreign officials about exactly what was said,” Mr. Barr during an interview with NBC News in December.

“There was and never has been any evidence of collusion, and yet this campaign and the president’s administration has been dominated by this investigation into what turns out to be completely baseless.”

Last year, Barr appointed US Attorney for Connecticut John Durham to conduct his own investigation of the Russia probe. In October, it became a criminal inquiry.

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