Attorney General Bill Barr said Wednesday that while he didn’t want to do anything to “affect the election,” he’s trying to get parts of the Durham probe completed before then.
Before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Barr declined to promise that he wouldn’t release the report before the election.
“We are gonna proceed with this investigation and not put it on hold right now during election season,” Barr said Wednesday on an interview on “The Buck Sexton Show.”
“We’re all aware of the calendar and we’re not going to do anything for the purposes of affecting an election, but we are trying to get some things accomplished before the election,” he said.
He declined to answer Sexton’s question about if the probe is in its final stages, but promised that “people will be held accountable” if prosecutor John Durham finds that any criminal laws were violated.
The probe has become increasingly colored by partisanship as President Donald Trump openly hopes for, and pins Barr’s legacy on, Durham finding evidence to discredit the origin of the FBI’s investigation into his campaign. And, as Trump has made clear, he wants that exculpation before the November election.
“Bill Barr can go down as the greatest attorney general in the history of our country, or he can go down as an average guy,” Trump said Thursday, about the probe’s findings. “We’ll see what happens.”
“(Barr and Durham) have all the answers,” he added. “It goes all to Obama, and it goes right to Biden.”
Witnesses who sat for interviews with Durham told CNN that they sensed investigators were under pressure to deliver findings before the election.
Barr has repeatedly broken with Justice Department practice by speaking out and opining about Durham’s ongoing investigation. During a Fox News interview, he called the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign “one of the greatest travesties in American history.”
CNN also reported Thursday that Barr initially wanted Michael Mukasey to head the probe. Mukasey was attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, and, later, a law partner of Rudy Giuliani. Mukasey has advocated publicly for the Mueller probe to be called off.
During his interview with Sexton, Barr added that he and FBI Director Chris Wray have been discussing “checks and balances” to install in the FBI to avoid replicating the “abuses of the past.” He did not, however, discuss last week’s report from the director of national intelligence that found that Russia is supporting efforts to damage Joe Biden and boost Trump during the 2020 election.