Attorney General Bill Barr defended the independence and integrity of the politically contentious probe being led by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the handling of the Russia investigation – while taking a swipe at James Comey’s past leadership of the FBI.
Barr took an implicit swipe at Comey as he maintained current FBI Director Christopher Wray is cooperating.
“I do want to say that one of the reasons Mr. Durham is able to make the kind of progress he’s making is because Director Wray and his team at the FBI have just been outstanding in support and responsiveness given to Mr. Durham,” Barr said. “As you know, I’ve said previously that I felt there was a failure of leadership at the bureau in 2016 and part of 2017, but since Director Wray and his team have taken over there’s been a world of change. I think that he is restoring the steady professionalism that’s been a hallmark of the FBI. I really appreciate his leadership there.”
In response to criticism, Barr said, “It wouldn’t be appropriate at this stage for me to discuss the Durham investigation.” He said he’d “certainly inform the public and Congress” when possible.
As for the direction of the investigation, he said: “We’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
He also responded to questions about a recent trip to Italy he took in relation to Durham’s investigation, explaining that they visited to help Durham establish ties with countries that might have helpful information.
“Well, some of the countries that John Durham thought might have some information that would be helpful to the investigation wanted preliminarily to talk to me about the scope of the investigation, the nature of the investigation, and how I intended to handle confidential information, and so forth,” Barr said. “So I initially discussed these matters with those countries and introduced them to John Durham and established a channel by which Mr. Durham can obtain assistance from those countries.” READ MORE: