Attorney General Bill Barr caught many by surprise, including President Donald Trump, this week when he discussed the ongoing Russia probe.
During a press conference Monday, Barr said he does not expect U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review into the origins of the Russia probe will lead to a “criminal investigation” of either former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden.
However, Barr did confirm that “some aspects are being investigated as potential crimes.”
“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.”
Not long after Barr’s comments, Trump told reporters he was “surprised” by Barr’s comments.
As noted by The Hill, here’s what Trump said:
I don’t say disappointed or not, but I have no doubt that they were involved in this hoax, one of the worst things ever befall to this country in terms of political scandal. I have absolutely no doubt that Obama and Biden were involved, and as to whether or not it is criminal, I think it would be very serious.
It was a takedown of a president, regardless of me, it happened to be me, and in my opinion, it was an illegal takedown. I’m going to let the attorney general make all of those decisions. I am going to stay out of it because it is the appropriate thing to do. I wouldn’t have to stay out of it as you know, but I’ve decided to stay out of it.
Barr did make it clear that he was very unhappy with how Obama’s FBI and DOJ went after the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and vowed that actions are coming.
“What happened to the president in 2016 election and throughout the first two years of his administration was abhorrent,” Barr said, adding that “it was a grave injustice and it was unprecedented.”
“We saw two different standards of justice emerge. … One that applied to Trump and his associates, and another that applied to everyone else,” Barr said.
Barr’s comments came less than a week after Republican senators made public a recently declassified list of former Obama administration officials who “unmasked” former national security adviser Michael Flynn in late 2016 and early 2017.
The list includes the names of more than three dozen former Obama administration officials — including Joe Biden.
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss its criminal case against Flynn following explosive new evidence in the case.
In the newly released documents, we learned that the FBI had drawn up paperwork to close the case against Flynn, but fired agent Peter Strzok made a last-minute move to keep it open.
Handwritten notes from the FBI — which were withheld from Flynn’s defense team for years — show that a key goal of the agents investigating Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”
One could certainly make the argument that top brass at the FBI — such as Strzok and Page — may have deleted or altered Flynn’s original interview summary to make it better fit their goal, which was to charge him.