WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr is working closely with the CIA to review the origins of the Russia investigation and surveillance issues surrounding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a source familiar with the matter, broadening an effort that the President has long demanded to involve all major national security agencies.
Barr is working in close collaboration with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Chris Wray, the source said.
President Donald Trump often called for the Justice Department and others to review how the FBI began investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
There had been speculation as to why Haspel had been spotted at the Justice Department in recent weeks.
As CNN reported, US attorney John Durham in Connecticut is heading up the effort with Barr. The source said Durham and Barr are doing a 360 degree review.
At a hearing last month, Barr said, “I think spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
He later defended the term, saying at a separate hearing that he used it because “it is the broadest word incorporating really all forms of covert intelligence collection.”
He went on to say: “Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant and a FISA warrant. I’d like to find out whether that is, in fact, true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”
US Attorney John Huber in Utah is no longer involved on Russia issues. Huber had originally been tasked with looking at allegations of surveillance abuse by Attorney General Jeff Sessions but was in a holding pattern as the Inspector General completes his review of the situation surrounding the Carter Page surveillance warrant.
Huber’s review of other issues related to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation is nearing completion, the source said.
The DNI and CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.