Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday he does not expect U.S. Attorney John Durham’s review into the origins of the Russia probe will lead to a “criminal investigation” of either former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden — while noting that their concern of “potential criminality” in the conduct of that probe is “focused on others.”
Barr, during a press conference otherwise focused on the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, spoke at length about the Durham investigation. He said he has a “general idea” of how the investigation is going and confirmed that “some aspects are being investigated as potential crimes.”
Barr did say, however, that “not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime.”
“As for President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement based on what I know, I don’t expect Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said. “Our concern of potential criminality is focused on others.”
Later Monday afternoon, President Trump told reporters he was “surprised” by Barr’s comments.
This comes after both Obama and Biden — the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — have faced heightened criticism from Republicans for any potential role in the early stages of the probe. Trump last week even called for Obama to be summoned to testify before Congress.
The politically explosive environment — bringing the country into uncharted territory, with a former president accused by critics of involvement in a political probe related to his eventual successor, and the sitting president now essentially calling for retribution against his predecessor — has built ever since the DOJ moved to dismiss its case against Michael Flynn.