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Attorney General William Barr dismissed calls for a criminal investigation of former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Speaking at a press conference Monday on the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the origins of the Russia probe, Barr said a “criminal investigation” is not likely and spoke against criminal investigations being used as “a political weapon.”
(Source: The Hill/YouTube)
While he noted that “some aspects are being investigated as potential crimes,” referring to Durham’s probe, Barr said that “not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime.”
“As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on what I know, I don’t expect Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”
“This is not good for our political life and it’s not good for the criminal justice system,” he said. “As long as I’m attorney general, the criminal justice system will not be used for partisan political ends. This is especially true for the upcoming elections in November.”
Barr’s remarks come amid increasing criticism from President Donald Trump and others over the Obama administration’s targeting of Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election. The president has said that his predecessor was involved in “the biggest political crime in American history,” and has tweeted the hashtag “ObamaGate.”
The attorney general called out the “dual system of justice” on Monday, saying “this will not be and cannot be a tit-for-tat exercise,” adding the need to “ensure we scrupulously apply” the same standards regardless of the political party.
He contended that it is “critical that we have an election where the American people are allowed to make a decision—a choice—between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden based on a robust debate of policy issues,” citing the current division in the country.
“We cannot allow this process to be hijacked by efforts to drum up criminal investigations of either candidate,” he said, adding that “any effort to pursue an investigation of either candidate has to be approved by me.”
“What happened to the president in 2016 election and throughout the first two years of his administration was abhorrent,” Barr acknowledged, saying that “it was a grave injustice and it was unprecedented.”
“The law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of this country were involved in advancing a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president,” he said. “We saw two different standards of justice emerge. … One that applied to Trump and his associates, and another that applied to everyone else.”
“The Durham investigation is trying to get to the bottom of what happened,” he continued, saying it would “determine if there were any federal laws broken, and if there were, those who broke the laws will be held to account.”
Barr’s take on Obama and Biden facing any consequences for their part in trying to oust Trump caused immediate backlash on social media where the president’s supporters unloaded.
Barr is showing Americans that politicians are above the law. Very sad.
— Mark (@MarkLFamily) May 18, 2020
So… per Bill Barr, Biden and Obama will not face consequences for their treason. So disappointed in our government. Dems get away with everything criminal while Republicans get framed and screwed over.
— SuzforTrump (@suzgonzo) May 18, 2020
Kind of a bummer that no criminal investigation into Obama a d Biden for FISA abuse was just announced by Attorney General Bill Barr. Wth???
— NativePhysics (@DavidPPrim0) May 18, 2020
So Biden and Obama are going to skate, according to Bill Barr. Because it’s an election year, we need to be fair. Got it.
— JillJ (@JillJ7854) May 18, 2020
Mr Barr why would you not investigate OBAMA and Biden. They broke laws and AMERICANs will stop following the rule of law if you don’t stop this. So disappointed.
— Lena DiGaetano (@DigaetanoLena) May 18, 2020
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