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PoliticsFive takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe

13:40  25 may  2019
13:40  25 may  2019 Source:   thehill.com

Barr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe

Barr throws curveball into Senate GOP 'spying' probe Attorney General William Barr's decision comes as a trio of Senate Republicans are planning their own investigations into "spying" on the Trump campaign. Attorney General William Barr's decision to tap a U.S attorney to dig into the origins of the Russia probe is throwing a curveball into investigative plans on Capitol Hill. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Barr has appointed a U.S.

Ahead of a state visit to Japan, President Trump comments on escalating hostilities with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as sounding off on British

Barr suggested that the initial New York Times report on the event had gone further than the evidence by saying Trump explicitly “directed” McGahn to “I’m not going to back off the word ‘ spying .' ” (The first definition of the verb “ spy ” in Merriam-Webster’ s dictionary is “to watch secretly usually for hostile

Five takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe© The Hill Five takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe

President Trump this week gave Attorney General William Barr new authorities to examine and possibly release classified material related to the Justice Department's inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation.

Trump calls 2016 campaign 'spying' 'treason,' warns of 'long jail sentences'

Trump calls 2016 campaign 'spying' 'treason,' warns of 'long jail sentences' President Trump issued a grave warning Friday to those who allegedly "spied" on his 2016 campaign.

William Barr faced criticisms of false or misleading answers as he testified on his handling of the Mueller report.

Attorney General William Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday amid a new storm over criticism from special US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE. What were the main takeaways from Barr ’ s day of testimony? Democrats find new impetus.

The move is widely perceived as an effort by Trump to ramp up his administration's probe of surveillance directed at members of his 2016 campaign. The president and his allies have suggested that federal agents biased against him improperly initiated the investigation into Russian election interference.

Comey: Barr is 'sliming his own department'

Comey: Barr is 'sliming his own department' Former FBI Director James Comey said Attorney General William Barr is "sliming his own department" by questioning the inception of the Justice Department's probe into Russian election interference and if the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow. "The AG should stop sliming his own Department. If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth. Donald Trump has enough spokespeople," Comey tweeted Friday. The AG should stop sliming his own Department.

Barr suggested that the initial New York Times report on the event had gone further than the evidence by saying Trump explicitly “directed” McGahn to “I’m not going to back off the word ‘ spying .' ” (The first definition of the verb “ spy ” in Merriam-Webster’ s dictionary is “to watch secretly usually for hostile

Barr quoted Mueller this way: “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” Second, Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein “have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’ s investigation is

Barr said last month he would examine the "genesis and conduct" of the Russia probe, adding that he believed the Trump campaign was "spied" on and wanted to ensure it was "adequately predicated." Those remarks drew fire from Democrats, who accused him of advancing a conspiracy theory.

Here are five things you need to know about Trump's new direction.

Sweeping powers for Barr

On Thursday evening, Trump instructed top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, to "quickly and fully" cooperate with Barr's investigation into "surveillance activities" during the 2016 election.

Barr was also given the authority to unilaterally declassify materials related to the investigation, allowing him to "direct" intelligence officials to declassify them. Such documents usually go through an interagency process to determine what can be declassified and released publicly, and the agency where the intelligence originated has to sign off on the final declassification.

AG Barr Claims He’s Defending the Presidency, Not the President: ‘Rules Were Being Changed to Hurt Trump’

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Trump is giving Barr a new tool in his investigation, empowering his attorney general to unilaterally unseal documents Trump has frequently claimed his campaign was the victim of " spying ," though Barr ' s letter framed the debate about the probe over the next few weeks and, White House officials

Trump is giving Barr a new tool in his investigation, empowering him to unilaterally unseal documents that the Justice Department has historically regarded Barr ' s letter framed the debate about the probe over the next few weeks and, White House officials believe, allowed Trump to declare victory before

The White House memo sent to intelligence agencies on Thursday said Barr should, "to the extent he deems it practicable," consult with intelligence officials before declassifying certain materials.

The move affords Barr considerable new powers to view and potentially release highly classified material gathered by the FBI and CIA in the course of the Russia investigation.

Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies

Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies President Donald Trump is directing the U.S. intelligence community to "quickly and fully cooperate" with Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe into whether Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.The move marks an escalation in Trump's efforts to "investigate the investigators," as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings.Press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump is delegating to Barr the "full and complete authority" to declassify documents relating to the probe.Trump claims his campaign

The probe “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U. S . presidential election,” the summary says. This finding came after Mueller indicted two dozen Russians for hacking Democrats and social media

WASHINGTON — That special counsel Robert Mueller has not resolved all the issues surrounding President Trump is disappointing many of the president' s foes, but it' s not surprising. Mueller is an honorable man. He is not a bomb thrower. He always defined his role narrowly.

"As far as I know, it is unprecedented for the president to delegate his authority to declassify to somebody who is not the original classifier," said Steven Cash, an ex-CIA officer and former chief counsel to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

"He's now in the chain of command with respect to classification between the president and Coats, or Haspel, or whoever's information it is," added Cash, who is now an attorney specializing in national security law at the law firm Day Pitney.

Trump's move also reflects the growing trust he has in Barr, who has earned praise from the president as a result of his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report and decision to open up an inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation.

Comey Welcomes Investigation Into Start of Trump-Russia Probe, Calls ‘Treason’ Rhetoric ‘Disgraceful’

Comey Welcomes Investigation Into Start of Trump-Russia Probe, Calls ‘Treason’ Rhetoric ‘Disgraceful’ James Comey expressed concern on Friday about the rhetoric being used against the intelligence community now that the Justice Department is investigating the counterintel probe conducted on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Trump gave Barr expansive new power to conduct his review of the origins of the Russia probe and what he’s characterized as “ spying ” on Trump’s Trump issued a directive on Thursday ordering the CIA and all other intelligence agencies to cooperate with Barr ’ s probe . He also gave Barr the

Ahead of a state visit to Japan, President Trump comments on escalating hostilities with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as sounding off on British Prime Minister Theresa May' s resignation and the sweeping authority he assigned to Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate allegations of spying in

The new declassification powers are limited to materials related to Barr's inquiry into the Russia probe. The memo released Thursday states that the powers will terminate when Barr leaves his post and will not extend to the next attorney general.

Potential for conflict with intelligence community

Trump is no stranger to conflict with U.S. intelligence agencies, and former officials say his latest move could put the intelligence chiefs in a difficult position.

While it's not unusual for the intelligence community to cooperate with law enforcement investigations, some former officials say it will become problematic if Trump is seen as using the agencies to go after his political enemies.

John Sipher, a retired member of the CIA's clandestine service, said it could create problems for Haspel and others if the president looks to "scapegoat" officials who collected intelligence that formed the basis for the Russia investigation.

Did Obama officials commit treason? "Not as a legal matter," Barr says

Did Obama officials commit treason? In an exclusive interview airing on "CBS This Morning" Friday, the attorney general expressed concerns about the way some officials oversaw the Russia probe

Second, Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’ s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” The Mueller probe spanned 675 days.

Trump is giving Barr a new tool in his investigation, empowering him to unilaterally unseal documents that Trump explicitly granted Barr declassification power — noting it would not automatically extend to another attorney The president has frequently claimed his campaign was the victim of " spying

"Hopefully, Barr and people in the national security structure of Justice go about this in a standard way. They can get the information they need," Sipher said. "If he himself is trying to get specific information to be used by the president for political purposes, then he's really being irresponsible."

Barr says DOJ, Mueller sparred over "legal analysis" in Russia report

Barr says DOJ, Mueller sparred over Robert Mueller and the Justice Department disagreed over the "legal analysis" in the special counsel's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller said his investigation did not establish President Trump committed obstruction of justice, but also did not exonerate him. Barr said he believes Mueller could have come to a conclusion as to whether the president obstructed justice.

Barr was mostly asked about special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's These are the biggest takeaways from Trump attorney general nominee William Barr ' s confirmation hearing. Barr answered dozens of questions probing his thoughts on that investigation, many of

Some also say that even the threat of declassifying materials could chill existing intelligence sources and make it difficult to cultivate new ones going forward. Foreign partners may also be wary of sending intelligence to the U.S. if they think it could ultimately be made public.

It is unclear to what extent the intelligence agencies were consulted before Thursday's announcement.

Coats said in a statement Friday afternoon he would provide Barr with the "appropriate information" in his review. He also expressed confidence the attorney general would work with the intelligence community "in accordance with the long-established standards to protect highly-sensitive classified information that, if publicly released, would put our national security at risk."

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment, and a CIA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Barr's use of the term "spying" has already put him at odds with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who told lawmakers during testimony earlier this month that he wouldn't use that term to describe lawful FBI investigations. Wray also said he had no evidence "personally" that FBI agents illegally surveilled the Trump campaign.

At the same time, Wray described Barr's review as appropriate and said he had been in "fairly close contact" with the attorney general to assist him.

Democratic fury meets Republican praise

Democrats, already critical of Barr's handling of Mueller's findings, have accused Trump and the attorney general of attempting to politicize the nation's intelligence apparatus. Some suggested the administration may be looking to selectively release classified material to shape a false narrative.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) described Trump's order in a statement Friday as a "corrupt escalation of the President's intention, with the assistance of the Attorney General, to weaponize and politicize the nation's intelligence and law enforcement entities."

Schiff added that his committee will "conduct vigorous oversight of any steps to selectively reveal and distort classified information, abuse the declassification process, and place at risk sources and methods, thereby weakening our safety and security."

Trump's Republican allies have long clamored for an investigation of the Russia probe, pointing to text messages exchanged by FBI agents criticizing Trump before the election.

Some have also scrutinized the FBI's use of information from Christopher Steele - author of the unverified Trump-Russia dossier - in a warrant application to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, alleging the bureau did not properly disclose the researcher's Democratic link.

"Outstanding-President Trump authorizing the Attorney General to declassify documents related to surveillance during the 2016 election," House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a close ally of Trump, wrote on Twitter. "Americans are going to learn the truth about what occurred at their Justice Department."

Other key Republicans, like Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), have not publicly weighed in on the move. A Burr spokesperson declined to comment on Friday.

Trump's calls to 'investigate the investigators' get louder

Thursday's developments illustrate Trump's calls to "investigate the investigators" - a message he has used to counter an onslaught of investigations from Democrats following the release of Mueller's report.

Trump has accused FBI officials involved in the original Russia probe - former FBI director James Comey, former deputy director Andrew McCabe and others - of engaging in "treason."

On Friday, Trump denied he was seeking "payback" following Mueller's two-year investigation, which did not result in Russia conspiracy charges against members of his campaign but nevertheless ensnared some of his allies. Mueller's final report contained embarrassing details about Trump's attempts to seize control of the investigation, but ultimately failed to reach a judgment on whether the president obstructed justice.

Trump described the Russia investigation as "an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the President of the United States" in remarks to reporters on Friday.

"I don't care about payback," Trump said. "I think it's very important for our country to find out what happened."

More shoes to drop

Trump's recent move all but guarantees his administration will release certain materials from the early stages of the Russia investigation.

Trump has long said he would declassify and release sensitive documents, including the application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil Page, a highly redacted version of which the Justice Department made public last summer under pressure from Republicans.

Trump last fall backed off swiftly releasing the Russia documents after the Justice Department - then headed by Jeff Sessions - and U.S. allies raised objections.

Trump told reporters on Friday he is leaving it up to Barr on what to release.

"I declassified, I guess, potentially, millions of pages of documents. I don't know what it is. I have no idea. But I want to be transparent," Trump said. "We have documents now that I have declassified for the purpose of the attorney general. He can then show them to the public, do whatever he wants to do with them."

Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to spearhead the review. Meanwhile, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz is conducting a parallel inquiry into the FBI's application for the Page warrant. That probe is expected to wrap up no later than June, and it's likely Horowitz will soon after release a report on his findings.

Read More

Barr says DOJ, Mueller sparred over "legal analysis" in Russia report.
Robert Mueller and the Justice Department disagreed over the "legal analysis" in the special counsel's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller said his investigation did not establish President Trump committed obstruction of justice, but also did not exonerate him. Barr said he believes Mueller could have come to a conclusion as to whether the president obstructed justice.

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