Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he does not expect a criminal investigation of former President Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden to result from the probe undertaken by U.S. Attorney John Durham.
“Based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr told reporters at the Justice Department. “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”
Barr was asked about President Trump’s recent remarks encouraging investigations into Obama and other officials from the previous administration during a press conference on December’s Pensacola Naval Air Station shooting. The president has suggested Obama administration officials were involved in criminal wrongdoing in connection with the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference.
Barr answered that he wouldn’t address Trump’s remarks specifically but denounced “increasing attempts to use the criminal justice system as a political weapon.”
Barr has tapped Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to oversee an investigation into the FBI’s decision-making in the investigation, including potential criminal wrongdoing. The attorney general has been deeply critical of the bureau’s handling of the investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign, and he renewed that criticism on Monday.
“What happened to the president in the 2016 election and throughout the first two years of his administration was abhorrent,” Barr said. “It was a grave injustice and it was unprecedented in American history.”
“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 added.
Barr said Durham was assessing whether criminal laws were broken, but insisted “this cannot be and it will not be a tit-for-tat exercise.”
“We are not going to lower the standards just to achieve a result,” he said, before adding he did not expect criminal investigation