In an interview aired Friday on "CBS This Morning," Attorney General William Barr explains why he opened an investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation. He doesn't say what the evidence is, but Barr tells CBS News legal correspondent Jan Crawford that there is evidence that makes him believe senior government officials may have acted improperly to authorize surveillance of President Trump's 2016 campaign. He says that led to "spying" on the campaign.
He said the hyper-politicized nature of politics today is a danger to longstanding institutions and he took the job of attorney general because he is at the end of his career.
"Nowadays, people don't care about the merits or the substance. They only care about who it helps, whether my side benefits or the other side benefits. Everything is gauged by politics, and I say that is antithetical to the way the Department [of Justice] runs, and any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital," Barr said. "And that's one of the reasons I decided I should take [the job] on. At my stage in my life, it wouldn't make any difference."
"I'm at the end of my career," he said. "Everyone dies. I don't believe in the Homeric idea that immortality comes by having odes sung about you over the centuries."
"In many ways, I'd rather be back at my old life, but I love the Department of Justice, I love the FBI, I think it is important that in this period of intense partisan feelings we do not destroy our institutions."
"One of the ironies today is that people are saying it is President Trump who is shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that. From my perspective, the idea of 'resisting' a Democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president. That's where the shredding of our norms and institutions is occurring," Barr said.