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Chuck Ross

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Attorney General William Barr has met with foreign intelligence officials, including during a trip to Italy earlier in September, regarding an investigation into surveillance activities against the Trump campaign, The Washington Post reported.

Barr was joined in the meeting by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, WaPo reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign,” department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Politico in a statement. “Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”

Barr tapped Durham earlier in 2019 to lead a broad investigation into FBI and CIA activities in the run-up to an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

He has said he is concerned that intelligence agencies improperly spied on the Trump campaign and has said he wants to find out if the FBI and CIA directed any intelligence-gathering activities at Trump associates before July 31, 2016, which is when the bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

President Donald Trump said May 24 he hoped Barr would reach out to British and Australian officials as part of the investigation.

Barr took up the probe after the end of the special counsel’s investigation, which failed to establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The special counsel also said there was no evidence that Trump associates acted as agents of Russia.

Barr has already made requests of British intelligence officials, according to WaPo. The Associated Press also reported that Trump asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work with Barr on the investigation. A Justice Department official told the AP that Barr asked Trump to make the request of Morrison.

The Justice Department declined comment for WaPo’s story.

The Australian government provided the tip in July 2016 that led the FBI to open the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

U.S. President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., Sept. 26, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

The tip came from Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat who met in London on May 10, 2016, with Trump aide George Papadopoulos. Downer said in a memo he wrote after that meeting that Papadopoulos said Russia might help the Trump campaign during the election.

Papadopoulos denied making the remarks and has accused Downer of working for Western intelligence agencies to collect information from him. Downer has denied the allegation.

Ten days before that meeting, Papadopoulos met with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who has ties to Italy. Papadopoulos said that Mifsud told him during the meeting, also in London, that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands” of her emails.

Papadopoulos has denied handling any Clinton emails or telling anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks. He has never been accused of working with Russians, though he did plead guilty Oct. 30, 2017, of lying to the FBI about the timeline of his contacts with Mifsud.

Papadopoulos also said Mifsud was working with Western intelligence. Mifsud has not been seen in public since just after Papadopoulos took his plea deal, and has reportedly been living in Italy in hiding.

Barr and Durham have inquired about Mifsud, according to WaPo.

Stefan Halper, an alleged FBI informant, also operated on British soil as part of the Trump-Russia probe. He met with Trump adviser Carter Page at Cambridge on July 10, 2016. The pair remained in contact for over a year. Halper also invited Papadopoulos to London in September 2016. He lured the Trump aide to the U.K. under the guise of writing a policy paper for $3,000.

Halper introduced Papadopoulos to his purported assistant, Azra Turk. Turk was actually a government investigator, and that British authorities okayed the operation against Papadopoulos, The New York Times reported.

Author: Chuck Ross

Source: Daily Caller: Report: AG Barr Is Ramping Up His Probe Of CIA, FBI Activities In 2016

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Monday he will meet with Attorney General William Barr during the week to discuss how to release documents he said will paint an “ugly and damning” picture of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

Republicans have pressed for the declassification of a slew of FBI and Justice Department documents related to the Russia probe, including FBI interview transcripts known as 302s. Republicans have said some of the information shows the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by relying on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain wiretaps against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“I’m going to meet the attorney general this week to talk to him about how to best tell the story. I don’t want people to conjecture as to what happened,” Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I want you to read it.”

“I want you to see all the 302s that we possibly can give to you. I want you to see the full [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant application. I want to release the transcripts of the confidential informants talking to Papadopoulos,” he said.

WATCH:

Republicans have also recently pushed for the release of transcripts of former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos’s conversations with Stefan Halper, an alleged FBI informant.

President Donald Trump appeared poised earlier in 2019 to begin classifying many of the documents, but he ceded control over the process May 23 to Barr. Trump’s order granted Barr the authority to declassify the Russia documents as he saw fit. Barr also appointed U.S. attorney John Durham to lead an inquiry into federal government agencies’ activities involving the Trump campaign.

The Durham probe is operating alongside a Justice Department inspector general’s investigation into the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page.

“I think it’s going to be really damning and ugly, and people did some really bad things that are dangerous for the country,” Graham said of the eventual release of the documents.

He also predicted the information will receive a small fraction of the coverage of what former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report received.

“It will be 10% of the coverage that the Mueller report got — it’s a shame.”

Author: Chuck Ross

Source: Daily Caller: Lindsey Graham Says He Will Advise AG Barr On How To Release Trump-Russia Documents

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