Barr doesn't expect review of Russia probe will 'lead to a criminal investigation' of Obama and Biden
Posted May 18, 2020 12:29 p.m. EDT
CNN — Attorney General William Barr on Monday said Barack Obama and Joe Biden are unlikely to be under criminal investigation in a review of the Russia probe that began in 2016 -- addressing simmering accusations by President Donald Trump against his predecessor and his 2020 opponent.
Barr said he was attempting to curtail the politicization of Justice Department investigations, yet his comments could fan speculation from right-wing commentators.
"Whatever their level of involvement based on the level of information I have today, I don't expect Mr. Durham's work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man," Barr said Monday at a press conference, referring to the US Attorney John Durham's ongoing review of the early Russia investigation, which ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to examine election interference and coordination with the Trump campaign.
"Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others," Barr added.
Barr also criticized, broadly, using criminal investigations as "a political weapon."
"This is not good for our political life and it's not good for the criminal justice system," he said. "As long as I'm attorney general, the criminal justice system will not be used for partisan political ends. This is especially true for the upcoming elections in November."
Barr has been slammed by former Justice Department attorneys and others across the legal community in recent months for interfering in cases involving Trump's former political advisers, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, and softening prosecutors' stances toward them for political reasons.
This story is breaking and will be updated.