Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner criticized Attorney General Bill Barr as fundamentally dishonest and suggested that the rot within Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) had apparently started to take its toll on U.S. Attorney John Durham as well.
MSNBC host David Gura started the discussion by playing a clip of Barr’s recent interview with NBC News’ Pete Williams wherein the 77th and 85th attorney general repeatedly misrepresented several findings contained in DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz‘s report on alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant apparatus.
“[T]heir case collapsed after the election and they never told the court; and they kept on getting renewals on these applications; there was documents falsified in order to get these renewals; there was all kinds of withholding information from the court,” Barr said. “And the question really is: what was the agenda after the election that kept them pressing ahead after their case collapsed?”
Horowitz’s full report was released on December 9.
The major negative finding was directed at one low level Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attorney who formerly worked within the agency’s Office of General Counsel. That criminal referral was based on the attorney allegedly altering a document–and his subsequent alleged lies about said alteration–that was ultimately deemed immaterial to the broader FISA issues.
Overall, however, Horowitz could not substantiate long-rumored claims that the FBI’s initial inquiry into then President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign was in any way improper–or that law enforcement relied on the long-discredited “pee tape” dossier produced by disgraced ex-British spy Christopher Steele. Barr quickly issued a statement disputing the IG’s findings and Durham more or less followed the leader by releasing a statement of his own.
“Therein lies one of those rhetorical questions,” Gura mused on air after playing the Barr clip. “The question is: what was the agenda? Your reaction to that–what he had to say in that interview? I [previously] mentioned that statement from John Durham as well, the U.S. Attorney from Connecticut, saying he disagrees. His report–it’s not written yet– the investigation continues but he disagrees with what he understand the finds of the IG would have been.”
To which Kirschner replied:
Rarely would I purport to speak for a thousand former federal prosecutors but I’ll bet if you surveyed all of us, we would all say the cardinal sin is to talk about a pending investigation. We don’t do it. Now, do we expect Bill Barr to do it? Of course we do. He’s not an honest broker. We saw what he did with the Mueller report. Mueller spent 22 months investigating, issued his report, and before Bill Barr let anybody see it, Bill Barr stood up and lied about it to the American people. And thereafter, the truth could never catch up. So this is what we expect from Bill Barr.
“I was surprised that Bill Barr slipped a little bit and waited for the IG report to come out first–announcing: the Russia investigation was properly opened,” Kirschner continued. “And then Bill Barr had to play catch-up and issued press releases and go on air saying ‘I disagree; I disagree; I disagree.’ I was even more surprised that U.S. Attorney Durham issued a press report saying ‘I also disagree.’ He’s the one conducting that pending investigation. He shouldn’t have said anything. It violates departmental policies.”
Kirschner went on to note that Durham “actually spoke with IG Horowitz before IG Horowitz reached his conclusions,” that Durham told Horowitz there was “nothing to undercut [his] conclusions” and that Durham actually agreed “a preliminary investigation should have been opened.”
“So, it looks like even Durham is talking out of both sides of his mouth now,” Kirschner concluded.
[image via screengrab/MSNBC]