AG Barr on Trump-Russia Probe: 'I've Been Trying to Get Answers to Questions...'

By Susan Jones | May 17, 2019 | 6:12am EDT
Attorney General William Barr (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

( - Attorney General Bill Barr told Fox News on Thursday he has been "trying to get answers to questions" about the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, but "I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate."

Barr spoke to Fox News's Bill Hemmer in San Salvador, where Barr was discussing gang violence, the border crisis, and other issues of concern to the United States.

Fox News's Sean Hannity played a brief portion of Hemmer's interview with Barr Thursday night, as follows:

Barr: I've been trying to get answers to questions, and I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate. I also found that some of the explanations I've gotten don't hang together. So in a sense I have more questions today than when I first started.

Hemmer: Some of what things don't hang together?

Barr: Some of the explanations of what occurred.

Hemmer: Why does that matter?

Barr: Because I think people have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale. And so I'm not saying that happened, but I'm saying that we have to look at that.

(Hemmer's full interview with Barr airs on Fox News at 9 a.m. EDT Friday.)

Barr has asked John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation as mor details leak out daily.

The most recent revelations involve former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who reportedly used the unverified Steele dossier -- opposition research paid for the Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign -- in an effort to discredit President-elect Donald Trump.

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) recently told Fox News that whoever is investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, "tell them to look for emails between Brennan and Comey in December of 2016."

The question is -- who directed former FBI Director James Comey to brief President-elect Trump on the most salacious aspect of the dossier -- the prostitutes in Moscow --  in early January 2016? And who then leaked that information to the media, which ran with the story?

Comey told Fox News last year, "My mission in my private briefing (with Trump) was, just to tell him about that slice of it (the prostitutes)." It's not clear who directed that "mission," but Comey said he was in the room when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed then-President Obama about the dossier. Clapper now works as a contributor for CNN.

In his January 2016 meeting with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower, Comey said he did not explain that the dossier was opposition research, and he said he doesn't know who leaked it to the press, nor did he ever try to find out.

Comey said President-elect Trump called him after word of the dossier leaked.

Baier asked Comey, "Did you inform the president-elect, at the time, what you knew about how it (the dossier) was funded and who was behind it?"

"No. I did not," Comey said.

"Did you inform...that Christopher Steele had been fired by the FBI? Or that he has lied?"

"No," Comey said. "And I didn't know those things at that time anyway."

Baier asked Comey if he told Trump that the unverified dossier had been used, at least in part, to get a FISA warrant to spy on someone in the Trump campaign.

"No, didn't come up," Comey told Baier.

Baier also asked Comey, "Is it fair to say that President Obama and his undercircle (ph) knew a lot more about the dossier and the scope of the investigation than President Elect Trump and his team?"

"No. I don't think that's fair at all," Comey said.

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