Attorney General William Barr has not seen any sign that the CIA engaged in “improper” activity related to President Donald Trump in 2016, he said in an interview published Friday.
“The CIA stayed in its lane,” Barr told The Wall Street Journal in an interview days before he is set to leave the Trump administration.
Barr also said that he did not see evidence of any foreign government activity related to Trump before the FBI opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation in July 2016.
Barr’s remarks are likely to dampen the spirits of some who have speculated that the CIA and foreign governments spied on Donald Trump or his associates in 2016.
Barr said that the investigation into Crossfire Hurricane, which is being led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, is making “significant progress.”
He said that Durham, who he designated as a special counsel in October, is now focused on the conduct of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team as well as “the activities of certain private actors.”
Durham’s investigation is following up on information revealed in a Justice Department inspector general’s report released last year that blasted the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The IG criticized the FBI for relying heavily on an unverified dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele that accused Page and others on the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Durham has reportedly sought documents from Steele, a former MI6 agent who investigated Trump on behalf of the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
Do you believe the CIA did nothing wrong during Crossfire Hurricane?
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Barr told The Journal that appointing Durham to serve as special counsel ensures that he will produce a report of his investigation that will be made public.
“The force of circumstances will ensure it goes public,” Barr said of an eventual Durham report.
Barr said that he had determined before appointing Durham as special counsel that the CIA likely did nothing improper in its intelligence-gathering activities in 2016. He also said that he has not seen evidence of any “foreign government activity before July 2016.”
Barr also said that most of the previously classified documents germane to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane probe have been made public.
Barr and the director of national intelligence have declassified a slew of documents this year related to Crossfire Hurricane.
Footnotes from a declassified IG report said that the FBI had evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives may have intentionally fed disinformation to Steele.
While the footnotes were declassified, the underlying evidence has not been.
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