SPONSORED:

Democrats rip Barr over IG statement: 'Mouthpiece' for Trump

Senate Democrats ripped Attorney General William BarrBill BarrPolice accountability board concludes that Seattle police officers used excessive force during encounters with protesters Trump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money MORE on Monday after he broke with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) top watchdog on whether or not there was enough information to open up an investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016. 
 
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, as part of his report released on Monday, said he believed there was enough evidence to warrant opening up the probe, while Barr, in a statement, said the FBI had an “insufficient” basis to justify the steps taken. 
 
"Barr’s decision to question the report in the media says a lot about Attorney General Barr," said Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session MORE (D-R.I.). "The Inspector General is an important defender against political influence over law enforcement—a regrettable tendency under Attorney General Barr." 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' MORE (D-N.Y.), asked about prosecutor John DurhamJohn DurhamTrump remarks put pressure on Barr Trump demands Barr investigate Hunter Biden Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE's separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, took a passing swipe at Barr as he weighed in. Durham’s office also issued a statement Monday disagreeing with some of the conclusions of Horowitz’s report “as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” though he did not elaborate further.
 
"When Attorney General Barr picked Durham, I was skeptical because Attorney General Barr has proven to be a mouthpiece for President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE and his wrongdoing, not an enforce rule of law attorney general," Schumer said. 
 
Schumer added that "if Durham was so nonpolitical, he never would have issued that statement." 
 
But Democrats largely trained their fire throughout Monday on Barr, who was confirmed to his job in a 54-45 vote largely along party lines. 
  
"Barr deliberately deceived the public about the Mueller report, and he’s deceiving the public again by ignoring the IG’s finding that opening the Trump/Russia investigation was justified," she tweeted. 
 
 
Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (D-Md.) added that "Barr should stop covering up for Trump and stick with facts." 
 
 
Horowitz released the findings of his nearly two year investigation on Monday, including finding that the FBI's decision to open up the investigation was not driven by political bias. He's scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 
 
He also concluded the bureau had “an authorized purpose” to launch an investigation to “obtain information about, or to protect against, a national security threat or federal crime, even though the investigation also had the potential to impact constitutionally protected activity.”
 
But Barr, contradicting the IG, said Horowitz's report showed that the FBI opened an "intrusive" investigation "on the thinnest of suspicions," and that there was an “insufficient” basis to justify steps taken in the FBI's investigation. 
 
“It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration,” Barr said.