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Attorney General Bill Barr, in an exclusive interview with Fox News, said the country must know “exactly what happened” with counterintelligence activities conducted during the 2016 election — and he is determined to get to the bottom of the case.

In his first interview since becoming attorney general, Barr spoke to “America’s Newsroom” host Bill Hemmer during a visit to El Salvador for meetings with law enforcement officials. In pointed terms, he fired back at Democrats who have castigated him over his handling of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report — calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s charge that he lied to Congress “laughable” and dismissing an attempt to hold him in contempt of Congress.

“That’s part of the usual … political circus that’s being played out. It doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

And the nation’s top law enforcement official provided new details about the recently announced probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, defending his decision to pursue it and stressing that many of the answers he’s gotten so far have been “inadequate.”

“The first step is to find out exactly what happened, and we’re trying to get our arms around that, getting all the relevant information from the various agencies and starting to talk to some of the people that have information,” Barr told Hemmer.

While the decision to look back at the origins of the investigation has prompted harsh criticism from Democrats who previously have accused him of acting as the president’s lawyer, Barr argued there’s much yet to learn.

“I think there’s a misconception out there that we know a lot about what happened,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is Bob Mueller did not look at the government’s activities. He was looking at whether or not the Trump campaign had conspired with the Russians. But he was not going back and looking at the counterintelligence program. And we have a number of investigations underway that touch upon it — the main one being the office of inspector general that’s looking at the FISA warrants.”

Barr specifically acknowledged that the period between Election Day and Inauguration Day will be key, saying “some very strange developments” took place in that time – including the early January 2017 briefing intelligence officials gave to the president at Trump Tower and “the leaking of information subsequent to that meeting.”

At that meeting, Trump was briefed on Russian meddling and was informed by then-FBI boss James Comey about the allegations against him in a salacious and unverified dossier. Details later leaked to the press.

“That’s one of the things … we need to look at,” Barr said of the briefing.

Barr’s review could prove as politically explosive as the Russia probe itself. President Trump is watching closely, and tweeted Friday morning that those who spied on his campaign committed “treason” and could face “long jail sentences.” It comes as congressional Democrats ramp up their own investigations into the Trump administration, including looking at obstruction allegations in connection with the Russia case.

It emerged earlier this week that hard-charging U.S. Attorney John Durham was tapped to examine the origins of the Russia investigation, and has been working on his review “for weeks.” Bill Barr assigned Durham to conduct the inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign in 2016 as well as whether Democrats improperly colluded with foreign actors.

Durham will focus on the period before Nov. 7, 2016—including the use of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. Durham was asked to help Barr to “ensure that intelligence collection activities by the U.S. Government related to the Trump 2016 Presidential Campaign were lawful and appropriate.”

A source also told Fox News that Barr is working “collaboratively” on the investigation with FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and that Durham is also working directly with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is currently reviewing allegations of misconduct in issuance of FISA warrants, and the role of FBI informants during the early stages of the investigation.

In his interview Friday, Barr said he stressed it is of the utmost importance “to find out what the government was doing during that period.”

“I’ve been trying to get answers to questions and I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate. And I’ve also found that some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together,” Barr told Hemmer.

“So in a sense, I have more questions today than I did when I first started. Some of what things don’t hang together, some of the explanations of what occurred. People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason shouldn’t we be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale?”

He added: “I’m not saying that happened, but I’m saying that we have to look at that.”

Barr then turned his attention to Pelosi, D-Calif., and her recent claims that he lied under oath.

“It’s a laughable charge and I think it’s largely being made to try to discredit me partly because they may be concerned about the outcome of a review of what happened during the election,” Barr countered.

“They may be trying to undermine my credibility, but obviously you can look at the face of my testimony and see on its face that there was nothing inaccurate about it.”

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Blkojo

    May 17, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    “And justice for all.”

  2. Bill

    May 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Hopefully we will have Justice.

  3. N

    May 17, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Treason is a badge of honor for the Godless NAZI Commie liberal Racist Muslim Demoncrat Party & RINOs! The party of hate, hypocrisy, lies, deception,Fake News(Russian Collusion & Jussie M hoax)the list is endless!And the clueless minions that follow them!

  4. Arlene

    May 17, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    And over this stupidity, Mueller & Co. became VERY rich. Stupid us.

  5. Paduki

    May 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    Watching the Democrats react is like watching a cornered animal.

  6. Tommy Ryan

    May 17, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Everybody knows where:
    A. The collusion delusion
    B. The so-called “dossier”
    C. The dragged out drama by the DNC
    D. The lapdog MSM mainstream media
    E. The piles of cover-ups by the people involved with the above A-D comments
    …come from.
    If you looked in a telescope towards Washington DC, you’d find prying, unamerican eyes looking right back at you.
    Former Presidents & crooked Senators/Representatives selling out our country to the nations they falsely claim the present presidential administration is selling out to.

    *Wait…there’s a knock at the door*

  7. JD

    May 17, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    If there never was collusion and President Trump knew he didn’t do anything, what would he be obstructing? Mueller doesn’t exonerate, he just presents the evidence, which there wasn’t any. He purposely left the door open for the Democrats to think he obstructed. That report should’ve been no longer than 2 pages. Such a colossal waste of money. He knew from the beginning the dossier was made up. He should’ve shut the investigation down the minute he learned there was nothing. Mr Integrity my a$$.

    • Michael

      May 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      That’s exactly what I’ve been saying, if there was never an underlying crime, how could there be obstruction? Also, as you said, Mueller was a prosecutor and a prosecutor’s job is not to exonerate but to find evidence to prosecute. But guess what? If a prosecutor can’t find any evidence then the suspect IS exonerated. Innocent until proven guilty. Trump doesn’t have to prove his innocence, they have to prove his guilt, and failure to do so means the suspect is exonerated. It doesn’t matter how Mueller tries to spin it with his little open ended statement. The facts are the facts, and Mueller’s little statement doesn’t change that.

    • JAIME.

      May 17, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      CORRECT!!!!!

  8. Michael

    May 17, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Mueller’s as crooked as anybody. He tried for two years to create a crime where none ever existed. The reason he finally admitted there was no collusion now is because he’s afraid and trying to cover his own ass. He knew he had nothing from day one, but was hopeful he could find something to nail the president on. After two years of trying and coming up short at every turn he started to panic, especially with Barr as the new AG. He knew real investigations were going to be coming and he tried to cover his own ass, hoping that the president and the Republicans would believe he was an honest person and hopefully not look into his history and dealings. Don’t let this cock-sucker off the hook. He’s part of the corruption, and he’s trying to play both sides to keep himself out of jail. Lock his crooked ass up too. No mercy.

  9. Fran

    May 17, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    And 35 million dollars of tax payers dollars was wasted on all these Democrat lawyers that got rich investigating a fake made up charge that they created to rip off the American people like they have been doing for years.

    • Rick Love

      May 18, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      I won’t be satisfied until the media’s role in this scam is acknowledged and the media people involved are punished. DC politics isn’t the only swamp we’re looking at here. The media is just as full of liberal snakes and vipers as the government is. The “stars” of the major networks should all be pulled down, as well as their leaders and their silent financial backers.

  10. alex jacques

    May 18, 2019 at 6:58 am

    I think the USA is going through a state of turmoil. It certainly has become an interesting state of affairs to watch and Know about. Very entertaining, Better than any movie I have seen. Keep it up, you people in the Good Old USA. You will get it done. The loyal reliable leaders are coming out on top. The rest will just disappear.

  11. J R

    May 18, 2019 at 8:53 am

    America has been in a downward spiral for nearly 60 years now. The greedy bastards in Washington, on BOTH sides of the aisle, became OBSESSED with power and money. We didn’t get 21 trillion dollars in debt because these losers cared about YOU, ME OR AMERICA. Democrat or Republican……don’t be a fool. It’s not Dem’s vs. Rep’s……..it’s US AGAINST THEM. Want to make a difference? Vote out all the OLD GUARD. Anyone who has been in D.C. for 12 or more years…..VOTE THEIR ASS OUT. NO, you don’t have to give up your beloved party and go over to the other side. Vote the old guy out in the PRIMARIES!!! Get involved. Get behind someone NEW that you feel good about. The “establishment” has a stranglehold on our government. We have to RID Washington of these bloodsuckers.

  12. Bob

    May 19, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Damnit, just be sure you and everyone you know votes to re-elect President Trump and while he may not be the ultimate answer he sure is a great refreshing start. if it were not for him none of this BS would be coming out–all the way down to the college scandals. I Thank Him for being bold and upfront and especially for the Fake News moniker!!!

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