By Duncan Smith
Attorney General William Barr took a shot or two at former Justice Department colleague Robert Mueller over the latter’s handling — mishandling? — of the “Russian collusion” investigation, even as the AG pledged he would “get to the bottom” of what appears to have been a concerted effort to undermine President Donald Trump.
In an interview with CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge on Thursday, Barr said the FBI’s use of the bogus “Steele dossier” to fraudulently obtain surveillance warrants from the FISA court to spy on Carter Page was one of the more troubling aspects he has seen thus far.
“Based on the evidence that you have seen, did senior FBI officials conspire to throw out the national security adviser?” Herridge asked Barr.
“Well, as I said, this is a particular episode,” Barr said. “And it has some troubling features to it, as we’ve discussed. But I think, you know, that’s a question that really has to wait for an analysis of all the different episodes that occurred through the summer of 2016 and the first several months of President Trump’s administration.”
Herridge went on to note that the dossier was “the product of Russian disinformation,” as revealed in recently declassified footnotes.
“And there were multiple warnings to the FBI at that time, yet they continued to use that. How do you explain that?” Herridge asked.
“I think that’s one of the most troubling aspects of this whole thing,” Barr responded. “And, in fact, I said it in testimony on the Hill, I can’t remember if it was my confirmation, that I said I was very concerned about the possibility that that dossier and Steele’s activities were used as a vector for the Russians to inject disinformation into the political campaign.”
“I think that is something that Robert Mueller was responsible for looking at under his charter, which is the potential of Russian influence,” Barr continued. “But I think it was ignored and there was mounting indications that this could very well have been happening and no one really stopped to look at it.”
Regarding the Justice Department’s decision to drop its case against short-lived Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, Barr said the department acted out of a sense of justice and “undid what was an injustice,” adding, “it’s not gonna be the end of it.”
Asked what that meant, Barr clarified: “I said we’re gonna get to the bottom of what happened.”