Bill Barr says he’s ‘happy’ Durham exposed the Clinton campaign’s role in the Trump-Russia conspiracy

News & Politics

Former Attorney General William Barr said Friday he is “disappointed” that special counsel John Durham failed to get a conviction in his case against ex-Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann, but added several reasons why he is “happy” with how the probe into the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation has turned out so far.

BlazeTV host Glenn Beck interviewed Barr on Friday and asked the two-time attorney general for his thoughts on where Durham’s investigation goes next.

Barr said that there are “two different goals” for the Durham probe. The first is to “lay the facts bare” and get some “accountability” for the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe by showing the American people how it was conducted.

“The other goal, obviously, would be to punish people to the extent that you can achieve convictions,” Barr said. ” That latter goal is more difficult, because of the way the system operates. The high standard of proof. You need admissible evidence. And, you know, D.C. juries are not the most favorable forum for these cases, by a long stretch. And I think everyone recognized that.”

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Sussmann, a former Perkins Coie lawyer, was indicted on one count of lying to the FBI in September 2016 when he presented since-debunked evidence that the Trump Organization had ties to a Russian bank. Durham’s prosecutors alleged that Sussmann had pretended to be a concerned citizen without disclosing that he was working for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. They claimed that Sussmann went to the FBI with unverified information so that the bureau would open a case against Donald Trump and that the Clinton campaign subsequently used leaked information from the investigation to attack her Republican rival ahead of the presidential election.

However, a Washington D.C. jury found Sussmann not guilty of the charge.

Barr said that Durham knew “there would be a tough jury” but likely “felt he had the duty to bring this case.”

“I’m disappointed, in the outcome. But I am actually happy, that [Durham] blew up the case,” he told Beck.

He continued: “I think it actually achieved a lot of progress on the issue of getting at the truth. He shed a lot of light, and demonstrated the central role play by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And also, the very troubling behavior of the FBI leadership, that — that duped its own agents about the source of this information. And that’s a lot of progress.”

Barr said he is looking forward to the trial of Igor Danchenko later this year. Danchenko was a source for the infamous and debunked Steele dossier, a discredited opposition research report that falsely alleged that Trump’s campaign was colluding with the Russian government. He predicted that Durham will “write a very illuminating report about how this went down” once his probe is finished.

He also cautioned that Trump supporters who may be frustrated that no one is going to jail yet over the FBI’s conduct need to understand there’s a large gap between what they think happened and what is provable in a court of law.

“One of the things that’s always frustrated me about the frustration of Trump’s allies, and I include myself on that in this issue, is this idea that just because we think we know what happened, it should be easy to throw people in jail,” Barr said.

This case illustrates that in a sense. We knew, or thought we knew, that Hillary Clinton in July, had given the green light on this thing — on the idea of her putting out a story to tie Trump to Putin. But the reason we knew that is because the CIA gave a report saying that they had some indications of this. And immediately — well, ‘throw them in jail.’

That’s not admissible evidence. And you could never build a case on that. The hard work had to be done, to actually get evidence of hearsay. But direct evidence, that happened. And through a lot of hard work, [the] people [who] were trying to bring people to justice, they were able to tell that story.

With direct evidence, as to the role of the campaign. And that’s the kind of hard work that’s required, to actually present a case in court. And to achieve a … conviction. But I think the public has been conditioned that just because … there’s information out there in the ether that suggests something, that that should be enough. And it’s not enough.

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