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William Barr ordered an investigation into the CIA that’s been done



The Department of Justice is reviewing whether the Central Intelligence Agency’s findings that the Russian government intervened to boost President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election was correct, but it’s an investigation that was reportedly already conducted over two years ago.

Mike Pompeo — a Trump loyalist who is now the secretary of state — carried out a similar investigation in 2017 shortly after he was appointed as CIA director, according to Politico. In January 2017, the CIA, alongside other intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, said in a declassified report that Russian President Vladimir Putin “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller also backed up those findings in his report.

Read more: Spy agency veterans are horrified at Trump’s decision to grant AG Barr sweeping power to declassify Russia intelligence: ‘Lives are on the line’

Pompeo — a Trump loyalist who is now the secretary of state — personally reviewed the agency’s findings, grilling analysts in a combative interview.

“This was a challenging back and forth, in which Pompeo asked the officers tough questions about their work and how they determined Putin’s specific objectives,” one person familiar with the session told Politico.

The investigation didn’t find any wrongdoing or evidence that intelligence analysts were under political pressure to produce their final conclusions.

In a statement, a person familiar with the situation told Politico that Pompeo “routinely asks employees for their unvarnished assessments” and that Pompeo agreed that the Russian government intervened in the 2016 presidential election.

Over the last few years, Trump’s allies have become fixated on the CIA’s findings that Russia sought to directly aid Trump instead of broadly sowing distrust in the democratic political process.

Read more:‘I think I’d take it’: Trump says he might not go to the FBI if a foreign government like Russia offered him dirt on political opponents

In May, Attorney General Bill Barr ordered a fresh investigation into the CIA’s findings and tapped the US attorney in Connecticut John Durham to spearhead it. Critics charge that Barr’s probe is politically motivated and that it could negatively impact the agency’s apolitical intelligence gathering operations.

“It’s an effort to amplify the counter-narrative, and to ignore what the Russians did, and what they will do in the next election,” Democratic House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff told reporters of the DOJ probe last month.

Michael Morell, the former acting CIA director, told Politico that the Justice Department is “absolutely the wrong organization to do the review.”

Morell added that the DOJ’s role is to investigate whether a crime has been committed, not assess the foreign intelligence operations of the American government. “They have no experience in that,” he said.

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