U.S. Attorney General William Barr listens to concerns raised about public safety in rural Alaska during at a roundtable discussion at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. Barr did not take questions from reporters in his first public appearance after former special prosecutor Robert Mueller spoke to reporters after resigning at the completion of his report into Russian interference into the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Reports are beginning to float to the surface that Attorney General Bill Barr — who has been overseeing U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion investigation — does not agree with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s conclusion in his forthcoming report that the FBI had sufficient evidence to open the investigation.
That’s a mouthful, I know. But it’s pretty simple, really. According to the Washington Post, Barr is basically saying that Horowitz, confined as he is to examining issues related to the DOJ, doesn’t have the information he and Durham have uncovered as to what other agencies (such as the CIA) and entities may have been doing during the investigation.
He doesn’t have all the information, Barr says, so his conclusion might be appropriate within the limited parameters he had to work with, but there’s more to the story.
It’s not a slam against Horowitz, nor is it a slam against the report necessarily. Simply an acknowledgment — and a necessary one, given the spin-doctoring that’s been happening in the lead up to the report’s release next week — that Horowitz was limited in the scope of his investigation.
The behavior is actually how governing is supposed to work, with the players showing respect for each other’s roles and taking care not to step on toes. The Obama administration had a different view of how the intelligence agencies were supposed to work, and Barr seems to be hearkening back to a time before “supersharing” (just made that word up) between agencies was a thing.
But don’t take my word for it. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham warned that if you believe Horowitz and Barr are at odds with each other in their respective upcoming reports, you’re buying into the spin.
“Be wary of the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting on what is coming up with Horowitz. They have been trying overtime to spin this thing to diminish its effect, to downplay it,” Graham said Monday.
“I can tell you without any hesitation Attorney General Barr has every confidence in the world in Mr. Horowitz,” Graham added. “He believes that he has done a good job, a professional job, and he appreciates the work and the effort he has put into disclosing abuse at the Department of Justice.”