Attorney General William Barr offered his most pointed rebuke to date against conspiracy theories that President Donald Trump is in bed with Russia.
“Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus,” Barr said in an interview with CBS News that aired Friday.
Robert Mueller, who served as special counsel, said in a report released in April that investigators were unable to establish that Trump or his campaign associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017 to investigate whether the campaign had worked with the Kremlin. One source for the conspiracy theory was the infamous dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British spy working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Steele alleged in the dossier that members of the Trump campaign were involved in a “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation” with the Russian government to steal and release Democrats’ emails. Steele also claimed that Michael Cohen, a longtime Trump attorney, visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin operatives as part of the conspiracy.
But Mueller shot down the Cohen claim in his report, saying that the former Trump fixer has never visited Prague.
In his interview with CBS, Barr provided more detail about his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, as well as government agencies’ surveillance of Trump associates.
The FBI obtained wiretaps warrants against Trump aide Carter Page that relied heavily on the dossier. The bureau also used at least one informant, Stefan Halper, to meet with Page and George Papadopoulos, another Trump campaign adviser.
Barr said that information he has received about the surveillance efforts is not “jiving” with the public narrative that has been put out by the Justice Department, FBI and former intelligence community officials.
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