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Comey: Barr is 'sliming his own department'

The Hill logo The Hill 5/18/2019 Tal Axelrod
James Comey wearing a suit and tie: Comey: Barr is 'sliming his own department' © Stefani Reynolds Comey: Barr is 'sliming his own department'

Former FBI Director James Comey said Attorney General William Barr is "sliming his own department" by questioning the inception of the Justice Department's probe into Russian election interference and if the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow.

"The AG should stop sliming his own Department. If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth. Donald Trump has enough spokespeople," Comey tweeted Friday.

Comey, a vocal critic of the Trump administration since Trump fired him from the FBI in 2017, appeared to hit Barr over his probes into the Justice Department's handling of an investigation into whether any Trump associates aided Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential race.

Barr this week assigned a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the inquiry and if any political bias influenced any investigative decisions.

The attorney general in April also formed a team to review the actions of the Justice Department and FBI leading up to the Russia investigation. Barr told Congress around that time that he was "reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016."

Barr raised eyebrows last month when he said he believes the FBI spied on the Trump campaign during its probe.

"I think spying did occur," he said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. "But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I need to explore that."

Barr later tried to clarify his testimony, saying he was looking into whether "improper surveillance" occurred in 2016.

"I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it. That's all," he said.

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