Barr to lead Spygate investigation himself, according to reports

Attorney General William Barr testifies at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on April 9, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr may take the lead in heading up the investigation into how FBI agents and others conspired to spy on candidate Donald Trump and the Trump administration with the goal of overturning the results of the 2016 election.

Barr testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Judiciary on Tuesday, telling members of Congress that he’s “reviewing the conduct” of the FBI agents involved in the Trump-Russia investigation.

“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” he said in response to a question from one of the members of the committee.

Last week, he said that he would not be in favor of a second special counsel to head up what is being called the largest corruption scandal in American history, indicating that investigators would most likely report directly to him.

Fox News reported late Tuesday that a Trump administration official said Barr has already assembled a team of investigators to to look into the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.

The investigation was opened by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok in the summer of 2016 and it is thought by many that the investigation was the “insurance policy” referred to in text messages between Strzok and FBI counsel Lisa Page — an insurance policy if, by some chance, Trump won the election.

Reporter Lee Sranahan reported Tuesday that the Department of Justice is interviewing people related to goings-on in the Ukraine, including the FBI agent who supplied the “black ledger” that was used to smear Paul Manafort, the legendary Republican political consultant who headed the Trump campaign until August 19, 2016, when he was asked to resign following a New York Times report that he had been paid $12.7 million off the books by the Ukraine’s Party of Regions.

The New York Times article, published on August 16, 2016, said the so-called black ledger was found by “government investigators” who were “examining secret records” in Kiev, and that it showed cash payments to Manafort totaling $12.7 million over five years.

Manafort’s lawyer told the New York Times at the time that Manafort hadn’t received “any such payments.”

Was it all a lie to take out Manafort and hurt Trump?

Manafort’s home was raided by the FBI in the early morning on Oct. 30, 2017 and Manafort was arrested on grand jury indictments for conspiring against the United States, for conspiracy to launder money, for failing to file reports of foreign bank accounts and for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, in addition to some process crimes.

On March 13, 2019, he was sentenced to 73 months in prison.

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