Attorney General Reveals Stricter Procedures for Counterintelligence Investigations of Presidential Campaigns

The attorney general and FBI director will have to approve counterintelligence investigations of future presidential campaigns, Attorney General William Barr said at a press conference Monday.

“The opening of a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on and the attorney general would have to sign off on,” Barr told reporters.

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Barr announced the policy change in response to a question about a series of reforms that the FBI plans to implement in the wake of an inspector general’s report that found that the bureau misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in order to get warrants to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The report said the FBI withheld information from the FISC that undercut the notion that Page was a Russian agent. Investigators also failed to tell the FISC about information that raised questions about the reliability of Christopher Steele, a former British spy whose dossier the FBI used in its wiretap applications.

FBI Director Christopher Wray submitted a list of proposed reforms to the FISC on Jan. 10. A reporter asked Barr at the press conference whether he will propose other changes to how counterintelligence investigations are conducted.

The head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division opened the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, on July 31, 2016. Former FBI Director James Comey was briefed on the investigation early on.

The inspector general’s report said that Loretta Lynch, who served as attorney general, did not recall being briefed on the existence of the investigation.

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