William Barr: ‘I act on behalf of the United States’

As reported by Politico

Attorney General William Barr on Monday said that he is not acting as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, after accusations from Democrats that he’s working in the president’s favor.

“That’s completely wrong and there is no basis for it, and I act on behalf of the United States,” Barr told Fox News.

Barr’s defense comes days after the news that the Justice Department’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe had transitioned from a management review to a criminal investigation. The U.S. attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, is currently overseeing the investigation, and Barr said he is making progress with the FBI’s help.

“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 [Christopher] Wray and his team at the FBI have just been outstanding in support and responsiveness given to Mr. Durham,” Barr said on Monday. “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.”

Democratic congressional leaders have accused Barr of taking actions that are in the president’s best interest. Democrats have also voiced concern about Barr’s ability to remain objective on matters that involve Ukraine, after the release of Trump’s phone call in July with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, mentioned Barr’s involvement. That call, in which Trump said that Barr and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani would contact Zelensky, prompted a whistleblower’s complaint that is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into the president.

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Reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times also found that Barr was meeting with foreign officials to get assistance with the Durham investigation.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a leader of the impeachment inquiry, said on Sunday that the attorney general “is weaponizing the Justice Department to go after the president’s enemies.”

“He’s demonstrating once again that he is merely a tool of the president, the president’s hand, not the representative of the American people,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

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