2020 election won’t stop Durham from handing down indictments, Barr says

Last spring, Attorney General Bill Barr tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham with examining the origins of the Robert Mueller-led Trump–Russia collusion probe, which examined (later disproven) allegations that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team “colluded” with Russia to take down Hillary Clinton, according to NPR.

Fox News reported in the fall that Durham’s look at the events that prompted Mueller’s probe had morphed into a criminal inquiry — and now, Attorney General Bill Barr has made clear that the upcoming 2020 election isn’t going to stop the Justice Department from handing down indictments as part of Durham’s “investigation of the investigators.”

“You don’t go after candidates”

According to Law & Crime, Barr’s comments came during an interview this week with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“There are guidelines concerning the announcement of indictments or closing of investigations prior to the election,” the radio star pointed out, according to Law & Crime. “When is that deadline for U.S. Attorney Durham, and do you think he will make it? Either to disclose indictments or to disclose that the investigation is over?”

Barr responded by noting that the general rule is simple: “You don’t go after candidates.”

“As far as I’m aware, none of the key people whose actions are being reviewed at this point are running for president,” the AG said, according to Law & Crime.

“But,” Hewitt countered, “would not the announcement of indictments after a time certain have an impact on the election of the sort that the U.S. Attorney’s Manual recommends against?”

The radio host pointed to the controversy surrounding the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. “As I recall, this came up with [former FBI] Director [James] Comey making his announcement and the concerns in 2016 that he had acted improvidently during the run-up to the election,” he said, according to Law & Crime. “I don’t recall what the exact timing is.”

In his answer, Barr explained that “the idea is” not to indict candidates before hinting at who won’t be facing an indictment. “You don’t indict candidates — or perhaps someone that’s sufficiently close to a candidate that is essentially the same, you know, within a certain number of days before an election,” the AG said, according to Law & Crime. “But, you know, as I say, I don’t think any of the people whose actions are under review by Durham fall into that category.”

“They will be prosecuted”

Barr’s remarks seem to suggest that neither Trump nor former Vice President Joe Biden are on the chopping block. But for anyone who is, the clock is ticking — and Barr has made clear that the Justice Department won’t be going easy.

“My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes or sloppiness,” the attorney general said in a recent interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, according to the Washington Examiner. “There is something far more troubling here, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it. And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted.”

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