Trump orders intelligence agencies to work with A-G

President Donald Trump with Attorney-General William Barr earlier this month. Mr Barr is to launch an investigation into "surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election". PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
President Donald Trump with Attorney-General William Barr earlier this month. Mr Barr is to launch an investigation into "surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election". PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Barr gets sweeping powers to review events leading to Mueller's inquiry

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney-General William Barr's review of the events that prompted an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The directive comes as the White House spars with congressional Democrats over the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, who led a two-year investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election and if there were any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney-General of the United States, President Donald Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney-General's investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election," White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said after Mr Trump issued the directive on Thursday.

The order also allows Mr Barr to declassify any information he sees fit during his review.

Mr Trump, a Republican, harbours suspicions that the Democratic Obama administration had ordered him investigated during the 2016 campaign to try to undermine his candidacy, and he wants payback against those he believes were responsible.

A redacted version of Mr Mueller's report was released publicly in April. The probe found no evidence that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia and did not draw a conclusion on whether Mr Trump obstructed justice, but outlined some incidents that Democrats have said may be obstruction.

Republican House member Mark Meadows tweeted on Thursday that "Americans are going to learn the truth about what occurred at their Justice Department".

DANGER ZONE

The cover-up has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American.

MR ADAM SCHIFF, a Democrat member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Mr Donald Trump's directive.

Mr Adam Schiff, a Democrat member and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, criticised Mr Trump's directive.

"While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponise law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies," Mr Schiff said on Twitter.

"The cover-up has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American," he added.

In separate comments late on Thursday on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler said Mr Mueller had told him that he is willing to testify to lawmakers in private, and also willing to make a public statement.

But Mr Trump railed on Twitter early yesterday against the investigation, and said that it was politically motivated.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'Trump orders intelligence agencies to work with A-G'. Print Edition | Subscribe