Attorney General William Barr is already breaking with a point in the Justice Department Inspector General’s upcoming report that would undermine President Donald Trump’s constant protestations that the probe into his 2016 campaign was a “witch hunt.”
IG Michael Horowitz plans to release his report next week. According to the Washington Post, the report will assert that the FBI did in fact have enough information to open an investigation into members of the Trump campaign in 2016. Barr reportedly objects to that conclusion.
The report also concludes that the FBI did not open the investigation based on the Steele Dossier or leaked information from the CIA, and that the probe did not stem from anti-Trump bias at the bureau.
Barr, who has remained in lockstep with Trump since his appointment, seems unwilling to agree to Horowitz’s finding which would undermine one of the President’s primary and longest-lasting talking points. Trump’s claim that those in the government were working to undermine his candidacy, and then presidency, from the start — neatly summed up with constant “WITCH HUNT” tweets — has formed the foundation of his messaging strategy.
Barr has praised Horowitz for his work in general, and it is not yet clear how he’ll register his disagreement.
The attorney general has willingly sung along to the President’s tune, and has publicly stated that he believes “spying did occur” by U.S. intelligence agencies on the Trump campaign. Those in the intelligence community, like former DNI James Clapper, have pushed back on the Trump camp’s word choice, saying that the intelligence agencies were scrutinizing Russian interference in the election.
“They were ‘spying’ on — a term I don’t particularly like, but — on what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said last spring. “Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do.”