Barr to raise threshold for opening probes into presidential campaigns

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Barr asks US attorney to further investigate 'unmasking' in 2016 Trump threatens to veto FISA bill ahead of House vote MORE announced Monday that he would raise the threshold for opening counterintelligence probes into presidential campaigns after accusations that the investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE’s 2016 campaign was flawed.

Now, investigations into presidential candidates will require the signature of the attorney general and the head of the FBI, Barr said in a news conference with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“One of the things that we agreed on is that the opening of a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on and the attorney general,” he said.

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Previously, lawyers from the Justice Department would review applications sent to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and approve any probes, with top official signatures not being required, according to Reuters

Barr’s comments come after the department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released a report late last year saying FBI officials made multiple mistakes when applying to the FISA court for the investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. These mistakes made the case seem stronger than it was, Horowitz wrote in his report.

Wray announced Friday that the FBI would toughen its procedures when asking to open electronic surveillance in certain cases.

Former Justice Department official David Kris has been nominated to help advise on proposed changes, but Trump criticized the selection, saying Kris has “zero credibility.”