President Donald Trump has directed the US intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.
The move marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to “investigate the investigators” as he questions the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls for impeachment.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review sensitive intelligence.
Barr has already asked John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation to determine whether intelligence and surveillance during the probe were lawful.
Trump has frequently claimed his campaign was the victim of “spying,” though the intelligence community has insisted it acted lawfully in following leads in the Russia investigation and conducted surveillance under court order.
Despite Mueller finding no evidence to support criminal charges against Americans related to Russia’s actions, his report documented extensive Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 campaign and willingness on the part of some in Trump’s orbit to accept their aid.