• Thomas Parker

AG Barr: no investigations of candidates

Attorney General William Barr directed federal agents not to investigate presidential candidates, their campaigns, or their senior staff without his approval.


The memo, originally obtained by the New York Times, states that Barr contemplated the effects of investigations on the outcomes of elections, as well as stressed the importance of safeguarding the reputation and perception of the Justice Department.


"In certain cases, the existence of a federal criminal or counterintelligence investigation, if it becomes known to the public, may have unintended effects on our elections," Barr wrote.


Barr's new rules are a response to investigations in 2016 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of both the Clinton and Trump campaigns for separate cases of potential wrongdoing. Both investigations concluded without a recommendation of charges for either candidate.


The memo follows Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign, which contained criticism of the FBI's FISA applications, citing material omissions and errors.


"While the department must respond swiftly and decisively when faced with credible threats to our democratic processes, we also must be sensitive to safeguarding the Department's reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship," the memo stated.

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