Barr defends investigating Russia probe

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Mueller report fades from political conversation Barr removes prisons chief after Epstein death MORE gave two rare interviews on Friday defending his decision to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.

“Just like we need to ensure that foreign actors don’t influence the outcome of our elections, we need to ensure that the government doesn’t use its powers to put a thumb on the scale," Barr told The Wall Street Journal.

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Barr this week reportedly appointed a prosecutor to investigate the 2016 decision by officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI to launch an investigation into Russia's election interference, which eventually involved a sprawling probe of actions by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE and his associates.

Trump and Republicans have alleged bias was at the root of the investigation. Democrats have called an investigation into the investigators politically motivated.

"I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions and I've found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together, in a sense I have more questions today than when I first started," Barr told Fox News, speaking from El Salvador. 

Barr's Fox appearance was his first televised interview since the release of the Mueller report in March and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1.

The Russia report, the findings of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's nearly two-year investigation, concluded that Trump's campaign did not collude in the interference. Mueller looked at whether Trump, who criticized the investigation, attempted to obstruct the investigation, but did not come to a conclusion.

Barr and the DOJ elected not to pursue obstruction of justice charges.

Barr has since told Congress that he believes "spying" on the Trump campaign may have occurred in 2016, around the time the Russia investigation began.

"I think spying did occur,” Barr said in April. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

Barr repeated that claim, using the word "spying" that former FBI officials have disputed, in his Wall Street Journal interview. 

“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” he said. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”