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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups 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.
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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April 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 AderholtGroup launches first national ad campaign to celebrate America's 250th anniversary House Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court Mo Brooks expresses interest in running for Shelby's Senate seat 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 ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief 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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week 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.”