- Attoney General William Barr disputes a watchdog’s finding that the FBI had sufficient legal grounds to launch a probe into the connections between Trump campaign officials and Russia in 2016, The Washington Post reported.
- The long-anticipated report is set to be released next week, and according to reports does not find that senior FBI officials were motivated by anti-Trump bias in launching the probe.
- Trump and his allies have claimed that the report will show that the Russia probe was part of a partisan plot to damage his presidency.
- Barr has faced criticism from Democrats, who believe he is undermining the independence of the Justice Department and using his position to advocate for Trump’s political agenda.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Attorney General William Barr is set to dispute a Justice Department watchdog’s conclusion that the FBI had good reason to launch a probe into Trump campaign officials and their connections to Russia in 2016, The Washington Post reported.
Sources told the Post that Barr has told associates he does not agree with Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to warrant launching the investigation, which was ultimately taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Barr, the Post reported, does not believe that the probe was launched on a legal and factual basis, and has said that other US government agencies such as the CIA have evidence that contradicts Horowitz’s conclusion.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
Though Barr may disagree with the conclusion of the report, he cannot alter it as the watchdog’s office operates independently of the DoJ.
If he publicly weighs in to dispute its findings he would be breaking with longstanding traditions, under which the attorney general has avoided siding with the White House to prevent the Justice Department being used to pursue political grudges.
The long-anticipated report is set to be released next week.
President Trump and his allies have claimed that it contains evidence to back his claim that that partisan officials launched the probe to undermine his candidacy for the White House then his presidency.
But details of the report that have emerged in media reports suggest that the the inspector general has found no evidence of bias by senior FBI staff when they launched the investigation.
A New York Times article reported that the findings undercut key claims by Trump and his allies that the probe was a “deep state” plot. However it does criticize some officials involved in the investigation on procedural grounds, the Times said.