A former Justice Department official believes Democrats should be “quite worried” about Attorney General William Barr’s investigation on the origins of the Russia probe.
Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Monday that Barr’s move to assign special ‘bulldog’ prosecutor John Durham to investigate the investigators is a sure sign that he thinks something criminal took place even at the outset of Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
“If I were the Democrats I would be quite worried,” Yoo, an official in the George W. Bush administration, said on “The Ingraham Angle” Monday.
“And the reason why is, by appointing a U.S. attorney, Attorney General Barr is essentially signaling that he thinks it’s possible that criminal violations occurred in the start of the whole investigation into any kind of Trump-Russian collusion,” he explained.
With an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general into the FBI’s use of FISA applications coming to an end, Yoo noted the seriousness of appointing someone like Durham who former independent counsel Ken Starr called “the most respected prosecutor in the United States.”
“As Judge Barr said, there is already an inspector general investigation that’s going to come to a conclusion. That’s what you would do if you were just interested in reforming the way the department does things, the way decisions were made,” Yoo continued.
“But you wouldn’t go with a U.S. Attorney like Durham, someone of his stature, unless the attorney general thinks actually something criminal might have happened,” Yoo added, “that someone might have violated the law, that there might have been malfeasance, that people at the FBI or the Justice Department were acting out of partisan motives, not just out of incompetence or stupidity or they were duped by the Russians or Steele or the English or by the Clinton campaign.”
Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee last month that he did believe “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign, announcing that he would be looking into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, it’s a big deal,” Barr said at the time.”But, the question is whether it was predicated — adequately predicated — and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”
“I think it’s my obligation,” he added. “Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane and I want to make sure that happened. We have a lot of rules about that.”
At the time of that hearing, Barr indicated that he did not yet have team together but was working on it.
And in light of last week’s political theater by Democrats under House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler as they voted to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena for the unredacted report from Mueller’s investigation, Yoo saw Barr’s move as one that Democrats should be “really worried” about.
“So if you are a Democrat, I think you would be really worried to see the appointment of a career prosecutor like this,” he told Ingraham.
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