Barr critical of NY Times reporting on Durham probe, says paper 'ignored some fundamental facts'
The attorney general, appointed by former President Trump, said the reporting left out "obvious reasons" for Durham's investigation.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr is raising concerns about The New York Times' reporting on special counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and alleged, related misconduct.
"They ignored some fundamental facts as to why some of the information that Durham was seeking was very important information," Barr said about the newspaper's report, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Barr, who was a Trump administration official, and who appointed Durham to lead the special Justice Department probe, also said Times' story omitted "obvious reasons" for the investigation."
The Times, in response, said the newspaper stands behind the story.
The story published Jan. 26 made the case that the Durham's probe has flaws similar to the Justice Department's Trump-Russia collusion probe including a strained justification for opening it and its role in fueling partisan conspiracy theories that would never be charged in court.
The Times story also alleged Barr pressed Durham to find flaws in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election conducted by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
Barr spoke to a Times reporter after a speech at the California News Publishers Association meeting, in Sacramento.
"The idea that there was a thin basis for doing it doesn’t hold water," Barr said. "Because it wasn’t started as a criminal investigation. One of the duties of the attorney general is to protect against the abuse of criminal and intelligence powers, that they’re not abused to impinge on political activity, so I felt it was my duty to find out what happened there.”
Durham is a former U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut. His probe included two trials in which he failed each times to win a conviction. Durham is now writing his final report.