Attorney General William Barr said in an interview with FOX News Channel's Bill Hemmer on Friday that he is investigating what role, if any, the Steele dossier played in the FBI's investigation into potential Trump-Russia ties in 2016. He said it would be "very unusual" for them to have used the document to launch a counterintelligence investigation because it had "a number of clear mistakes."
"It’s a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejune analysis," Barr told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer. "And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against an American political campaign... would be strange development."
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: How do you think John Brennan and James Clapper handled the Russia investigation?
ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL BARR: I don't want to speculate about the facts because I don't know the facts at this point.
HEMMER: At all?
BARR: I know some facts but it is premature to be speculating.
HEMMER: Can you tell us about the Steele dossier and what role did it play?
BARR: Well that's one of the questions that we're going to have to look at, it is a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejune analysis. And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against an American political campaign... would be strange development.
I'm not sure what role it played but that is something we're going to have to look at.
HEMMER: Do you smell a rat in this?
BARR: I don't know if I'd describe it as a rat, I'd just say the answers I'm getting are not sufficient.
HEMMER: Republicans have said for months that these men -- Just to follow up on that Republicans have said for months that these men: Brennan, Clapper maybe James Comey had it in for Trump. Do you think that's true?
BARR: Again I'm not going to speculate about their motives.
HEMMER: In the period of time between Election Day and the inauguration. Did anyone in government or in intelligence did they take action to justify their decisions?
BARR: Between. Election Day - Did you say?
HEMMER: Between Election Day of 2016 in November and inauguration day.
BARR: I think there were some very strange developments during that period. That's one of the things we want to look into.
HEMMER: Such as?
BARR: Such as the handling of the meeting on January 6 between the intelligence chiefs and the president and the leaking of information subsequent to that meeting.
HEMMER: Was that meeting in New York City?
HEMMER: In Trump Tower?
HEMMER: What questions do you have about what happened that day.
BARR: Again I'm not going to get into that at this point.
HEMMER: But it's on your mind.
BARR: That's one of the things we do we need to look at.
HEMMER: Can you characterize how far advanced you are in understanding that meeting.
BARR: We're still in the stage of gathering all the information.