Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who worked for then-President Donald Trump but has not had a lot of good things to say about him since the two of them left office, was nevertheless forced to make an admission about his old boss after the special counsel he appointed to look into the origins of the “Russian collusion” hoax, John Durham, dropped his report on Monday.
“I think [the Durham report] helps him in the short term. My own view is that he will not win the nomination,” Barr told Fox News anchor Bret Baier on Monday. “And I have nothing personal against him… But I just don’t think he’s the right leader for the Republican Party going forward.
“I think people who want to restore America should look for a big victory that brings strength into the Congress and allows us to achieve some fundamental changes. And I don’t think he’s capable of delivering that kind of victory,” Barr said.
Here’s a partial transcript:
BAIER: You have been critical of your former boss, his temperament, his style.
But, in this case, in this effort to go after him, you defend him. You think this exonerates him?
BARR: Well, I felt, as I started learning more and more about Russiagate — and I have said, this is one of the greatest injustices done to a presidential candidate and a president. And he was treated unfairly here.
So, he is vindicated as far as Russiagate is concerned.
BAIER: You stopped short there. Are you…
BARR: Well, I have had my differences with him. I have also said that I thought that he had great policies, that he deserved a lot of credit for what he accomplished, and this was a grave injustice.
And the fact that he was able to accomplish a lot in the face of it, I think was a great achievement. I have other problems. I’m not supporting him for renomination, but he was right on this. And this is a vindication. He had it right from the beginning.
BAIER: Talking about the price of the Durham probe, $6.5 million over four years, a couple days. The Mueller probe was two-years plus, about $32 million.
BARR: Something like that, yes.
BAIER: Is this worth this time and effort? What is the benefit in the long term?
BARR: This goes to the heart of making sure that law enforcement power is not abused to interfere in politics.
This is fundamental in civil rights. I didn’t hear anyone complaining when the FBI was being investigated for getting into civil rights groups and abuses back in ’60s and ’70s. In fact, that was being cheered on by the left.
This was investigating a presidential campaign based on a lie, no evidence, not even — dismissing all the exculpatory evidence. I invite people to look at that report. It’s great reading. And the number of instances where the FBI made decisions that are inexplicable are breathtaking.
BAIER: A couple of specifics.
“Lack of analytical rigor, apparent confirmation bias, an overwillingness to rely on information from individuals connected to political opponents caused investigators to fail to adequately consider alternative hypotheses and to act without appropriate objectivity or restraint. Although recognizing that, in hindsight, much is clearer, much of this also seems to have been planned.”
And it was driven from the top. There was a predisposition to do this. One of the good stories here is that a number of FBI agents throughout this process would say, hey, wait a minute, what are we doing here, and try to slow things down and point — and they were brushed aside, they were reassigned.
And this thing was just driven from the top. As one agent in London said when they were trying — when they were opening the investigation, this train is coming down the tracks, and people have to get out of the way. It’s being driven from the top.
BAIER: Are you concerned about the FBI, the DOJ, looking at it now?
BARR: Yes, I have been concerned about both institutions for a long time.