Trump Denies He Asked Barr To Probe Russia Origins

Clay Curtis
May 14, 2019

Trump said it was "ridiculous" that Wray wouldn't call the FBI's efforts to investigate the Trump campaign "spying".

In his testimony, Wray tried to make clear that although he did not use the term "spying" with regard to the Trump investigation, he was not picking a fight with those who do.

Democrats have accused Trump of using the allegations to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller's findings that Russian Federation aided Trump's 2016 campaign and that he could not exonerate the president on the question of whether he tried to impede Mueller's investigation.

The inquiry, which will focus on whether the government's methods to collect intelligence relating to the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate, is separate from an investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Last week, FBI Director Wray said he had personally seen no evidence of improper surveillance and that he was cooperating with Barr to "get to the bottom of an understanding of what the circumstances surrounding the initiation of that investigation were at the department and the FBI back in 2016".

As several sources noted, Durham had a history of investigating the investigators.

As he prepared to depart the White House on Tuesday, Trump was asked whether he retained confidence in Wray, given his answer.

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Trump said he had not asked Barr to make the move but said, "I think it's a great thing that he did it".

In a speech in Baltimore Monday evening, former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said he believed the investigation "was justified, and closing it was not an option".

The appointment of John Durham, the USA attorney for CT, launches the third counter investigation after the conclusion of the 22-month Mueller inquiry, which found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow to influence the 2016 election.

With the appointment, Barr is addressing a rallying cry of President Donald Trump and his supporters, who have accused the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation of unlawfully spying on his campaign.

The Associated Press noted that "Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency videotapes and the Boston FBI office's relationship with mobsters".

Durham was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018.

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