President Donald Trump recently granted Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify any and all documents needed to “get to the bottom of what happened” in 2016, when Obama-era officials in the Justice Department spearheaded efforts to spy on the Trump campaign.
Unsurprisingly, the move generated cries of outrage from Democrats and career bureaucrats who understand that this declassification could expose their criminal wrongdoings — and now, according to former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova, they’re doing all they can to stop Barr in his tracks.
DiGenova explained in a radio interview on Monday that Barr is now engaged in a “full-scale war” with top officials at the CIA and FBI — led by Directors Gina Haspel and Christopher Wray, respectively — who are resistant to turning over the various documents Barr seeks to declassify.
In a nearly 15-minute interview with Washington’s WMAL Mornings on the Mall radio show, diGenova characterized Wray as an “unmitigated disaster” at the FBI who is following in the footsteps of his disgraced and fired predecessor, James Comey.
“You are watching the quintessential Washington power battle,” DiGenova said.
While the agencies under scrutiny can do their best to stifle Barr’s investigation and leak select bits of information to the media, they lack the AG’s subpoena power, which will allow him to work around their stone-walling.
“We are headed toward a gigantic, gigantic fight,” diGenova said. “The intelligence community, which includes the FBI, is in full resistance to disclosing what they did during the presidential campaign.”
DiGenova also revealed another problem the resistant bureaucrats face: reports allege that the Obama administration abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts and National Security Agency (NSA) databases to illegally spy on American citizens as far back as 2012.
“The FBI and CIA desperately fear that if these disclosures become publicly known in a wide-ranging way, their powers may be cut back, FISA may be restricted, and some additional people may go to prison,” diGenova said.
He went on to say that those resistant agencies seeking to avoid accountability have “met their match” in Barr, who diGenova believes will ultimately prevail.
DiGenova also said that past efforts to spy on and investigate the Trump campaign were less about Trump and his associates and more about providing a legal groundwork to help cover up prior illicit spying and abuse of the FISA courts and NSA databases, which were used to unmask and counter Obama’s political opponents.
What diGenova described is indeed a “full-scale war” of the bureaucratic and political variety between those who wish to cover up illegal abuses and activities versus those who seek to expose and prevent such abuses in the future.
May the games begin.