Barr assembles team to scrutinize origins of the FBI's Trump campaign probe: reports

President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters have long called for the Justice Department to scrutinize decisions made by the FBI related to its 2016 investigation into the Trump presidential campaign — an investigation that the president has repeatedly lambasted as politically motivated. It now appears that Attorney General William Barr is acceding to this demand.

Barr, who was tapped by Trump to head the Department of Justice in December, has put together a team to review earlier counterintelligence decisions made by the Justice Department and the FBI, including a look into the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia, according to separate reports from Bloomberg and Fox News on Tuesday. Both news outlets cited unnamed sources who were familiar with the situation. 

“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016,” Barr reportedly told the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday as he answered lawmakers’ questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into the 2016 campaign and Russian influence. Barr has yet to release Mueller’s report to Congress.

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William Barr through the years
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 1991 file photo, then Attorney General nominee William Barr is shown on Capitol Hill in Washington. Barr once advised the U.S. government that it could attack Iraq without Congressional approval, arrest a deposed foreign dictator and capture suspects abroad without that country’s permission. Those decisions reflect a broad view of presidential power that Barr, President Donald Trump's pick to reclaim his old attorney general job, demonstrated at the Justice Department and in the years since. (AP Photo/John Duricka)
U.S. President George H. Bush signs into law new civil rights guarantees for women and minorities at a Rose Garden ceremony, Thursday, Nov. 21, 1991 in Washington, as Vice President Dan Quayle, left, and Acting Attorney General William Barr look on. The bill signing capped a two-year struggle with congress over whether the legislation encouraged job quotas. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
U.S. President George H. Bush, right, and William Barr wave after Barr was sworn in as the new Attorney General of the United States, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1991 at a Justice Department ceremony in Washington. (AP Photo/Scott Applewhite)
U.S. President George H. Bush gestures while talking to Attorney General William Barr in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 4, 1992 in Washington. The President met with top domestic Cabinet officers to tackle long-range problems pushed to the forefront by last week's deadly riots in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)
Board member of MCI Telecommunications, Nicholas Katzenbach, second left, speaks at hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on "The WorldCom Case: Looking at Bankruptcy and Competition Issues" on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, July 22, 2003. Witnesses are, from left, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Verizon Communications William Barr, Katzenbach, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP's Marcia Goldstein, Communications Workers of America President Morton Bahr, National Bankruptcy Conference Vice-Chair Douglas Baird, Cerberus Capital Management Chief Operation Officer Mark Neporent. (AP Photo/Akira Ono)
Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, left, listens as William Redpath, Libertarian Party national chairman, answers a question at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007. (AP Photo)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, left, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, arrives to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee member and Trump confidant Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, right, meets with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Barr, who served in the position in the early 1990s, has a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week and could be in place at the Justice Department as soon as February when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves after Barr is confirmed. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General nominee William Barr , left, turns to answer a reporter's question as he arrives to meet with Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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As Bloomberg noted, Barr’s decision to review the beginnings of the FBI investigation suggests he’ll be digging into Republicans’ allegations that it was “tainted at the start by anti-Trump bias.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, lauded Barr’s move as “great news,” telling Bloomberg that it’s “something that has been really important to us. It’s what we’ve been calling for.”

Barr’s planned review, which Fox News said would be “comprehensive,” is separate from an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general into actions taken by the Justice Department and FBI as part of the Russia inquiry.

Barr told House lawmakers on Tuesday that the inspector general’s review is almost complete, with a possible end date in May or June.

Republican lawmakers have also been conducting their own inquiries into whether political bias influenced the Justice Department and FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

A House Judiciary Committee review into the matter was concluded “quietly and unceremoniously” in December, The Guardian noted. At the time, Republicans on the committee said merely that their probe had “revealed troubling facts which exacerbated our initial questions and concerns,” and they urged the Justice Department to investigate further.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vowed last month that his committee would launch an investigation of its own. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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