Attorney General William Barr said that the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016 was “one of the greatest travesties in American history.”
Barr told Fox News on April 9 that he’s troubled by the findings from the probe of the FBI by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who’s scrutinizing the origins of the probe as well as what the bureau did after Donald Trump was elected president.
“My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just the mistakes or sloppiness,” Barr told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “There was something far more troubling here. We’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted.”
Barr told Congress last year the FBI spied on the Trump campaign. He said April 9 that the president “has every right to be frustrated” by the investigation.
The Department of Justice inspector general found that the FBI’s applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) contained a plethora of significant errors and omissions.
“What happened to him was one of the greatest travesties in American history—without any basis, they started this investigation of his campaign,” Barr said.
“And even more concerning, actually, is what happened after the campaign. A whole pattern of events while he was president to sabotage the presidency or at least have the effect of sabotaging the presidency.”
The bureau obtained four warrants from the court to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page. An unverified dossier composed by a former foreign intelligence officer and funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee played a crucial role in the bureau’s decision to spy on Page, the DOJ inspector general concluded.
Unlike Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose task was to prepare a report on what the FBI did, Durham’s primary assignment is to determine if there is sufficient evidence of a crime and bring those responsible to justice, Barr said.
“It takes some time to build a case. He’s diligently pursuing it,” Barr said.
The FISC responded to the findings of the DOJ inspector general’s report by ordering the FBI to outline what actions it’s taking to convince the court that the bureau’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications can be trusted again.
The bureau responded with an extensive list of reforms, which it is currently implementing. Alarmed by the issues with the use of FISA to spy on Carter Page, the inspector general reviewed 29 other FISA applications and found similar issues with every application audited.
“I think it’s very sad, and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for because this was an important tool to protect the American people,” Barr said. “They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA, but also the FBI as an institution, and we have to rebuild that.”