Barr forms team to probe FBI actions in Russia investigation: report

Attorney General William Bar has reportedly formed a team to review actions of Justice Department and FBI officials leading up to the launch of the federal probe into President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE's campaign and possible Russian collusion.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday evening that Barr has assembled a team to review certain counterintelligence decisions made by Justice Department and FBI officials including during the probe into Trump's campaign during the election in the summer of 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barr had testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that he was reviewing "conduct" from around that period.

“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,” he said.

News of the review comes following the conclusion of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE’s nearly two-year investigation into  Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May 2017 to take over the Russia probe after Trump fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBroadcast, cable news networks to preempt regular programming for Trump impeachment coverage Scores of US dams found in poor condition, endangering thousands of people: analysis Former National Security Adviser John Bolton gets book deal: report MORE.

Barr’s review is reportedly separate from the current investigation being conducted by the Justice Department inspector general’s office, Bloomberg reported.

The attorney general said during his testimony that he expects the internal inspector general review to be completed by May or June.

Republicans have long argued that anti-Trump bias at the FBI triggered the investigation and the "Steele Dossier," controversial opposition research conducted on the Trump campaign.

Rep. Robert AderholtRobert Brown AderholtLobbying World House advances B agriculture bill Dems advance bill defying Trump State Department cuts MORE (R-Ala.) during Barr’s hearing questioned if the Justice Department would investigate “how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for FISA order on a U.S. citizen?”

Trump and his allies have claimed that the dossier was used to obtain a secret warrant to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Bloomberg noted.

Comey, however, rejected that assertion last year when he testified before Congress. He said the investigation was opened the officials learned that another Trump campaign aide, George Papaopoulous “had with an individual in London about stolen emails that the Russians had that would be harmful to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Top diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Feehery: What Republicans must do to adapt to political realignment MORE.”

Mueller concluded his investigation last month and Barr summarized the contents in a March 24 letter, revealing that the special counsel did not “establish” that associates or members of the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government.

Barr’s summary noted that Mueller did not make judgement on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr wrote that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats ask judge to force McGahn to comply with subpoena Democrats ask court to force DOJ's hand on Mueller grand jury materials Washington celebrates diplomacy — and baseball — at Meridian Ball MORE reviewed the evidence and determined it insufficient to accuse Trump of obstructing the investigation. 

Bar told lawmakers during his Tuesday testimony that he will release a public version of Muller’s report “within a week.”