Former FBI general counsel and top prosecutor for Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, responded to the reports about the weaponization of the Justice Department under Attorney General Bill Barr.
Speaking to MSNBC's Ari Melber on Thursday, Weissmann explained that there are some questions about whether Barr broke any rules.
"It really depends on what the it is, because Barr did so many things that were improper," said Weissmann. "If you're asking the question about just meeting with a prosecutor and having drinks with them, I mean, it clearly shows a lack of independence, but that's not against the rules, and that could be done by somebody and be totally proper. That's not Bill Barr's sin. Bill Barr's sins are so many and so varied, whether it is intervening in the Roger Stone case. Whether it's intervening in the Michael Flynn case. Situations where people were -- many, many other defendants were facing the same situation, but he interfered and help them in their case because they were friends of the president's."
Weissmann called it "completely, legally antithetical to the position of the department" and told Melber it was "a fundamental assault on the rule of law."
As for special counsel John Durham, he said that the inspector general did their own investigation into whether the FBI was justified in opening their probe and found nothing wrong.
"But in terms of the predicate, the factual predicate for opening the investigation, it was ample, and the inspector general had already determined that. So, Bill Barr just didn't like the answer," Weissmann explained. "And then to go on TV and to suggest otherwise when, in fact, so far to date, there has been no contrary evidence -- it was entirely properly opened. And then finally, this last piece that was reported in The New York Times about Italy, the idea of using that to have the public think that the criminal aspect that aspect had to do with the FBI and the opening of the investigation, when in fact the lead that they got from Italy was about Donald Trump himself -- I mean, to me, that is just scurrilous to create that misimpression. Of course, I lived through a Barr misimpression when he wrote a 'summary' of our report that was, I thought, completely misleading. The question of, whether Bill Barr, did he break any rules and laws? He certainly broke a whole series of rules about the independence and objectivity of the Department of Justice."
Now that reports are coming out about Barr's involvement in the attempt to discredit the Mueller probe, questions are being raised about his own ethics. Barr is defending himself as doing nothing untoward.
See the discussion with Weissmann below or at the link here.
Bill Barr broke a lot of DOJ rules — but did he break any laws? youtu.be