White House official pushes back on Trump's Barr critique, claiming AG ‘saved his presidency'

AG Barr on Durham report: Will be ‘significant developments’ before election

AG Bill Barr provides an update to the Durham investigation into the origins of the Russia probe

A White House official is pushing back on critical comments made by President Trump about U.S. Attorney General William Barr, after he indicated Barr’s days with the administration may be numbered should he win a second term.

“The great irony in the president’s remarks is he is only in a position to complain because Bill Barr saved his presidency and everyone knows it,” a senior administration official told Fox News on Wednesday.

When asked during an interview with Newsmax – scheduled to air Wednesday night – whether he planned to keep Barr on should he win the election in November, Trump said he had “no comment” and it was “too early” to tell.

"I'm not happy with all of the evidence I have, I can tell you that. I'm not happy," Trump told the publication.

Trump also called the conclusion of an investigation into unmasking requests made by the Obama administration on some names in classified documents a “disgrace,” after a veteran federal prosecutor tapped by Barr – U.S. Attorney John Durham – declined to bring charges.

'UNMASKING' INVESTIGATION CLOSES WITHOUT REPORT OR CHARGES: REPORT

During an interview with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo last week, Trump said Barr would either be “the greatest attorney general in the history of our country” or “an average guy” depending on how investigations into the origin of the Russia probe play out.

“Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes — the greatest political crime in the history of our country — then we’ll get little satisfaction, unless I win,” he said. “Because I won’t forget it. But these people should be indicted. These are people who spied on my campaign. And we have everything. And I say, Bill, we’ve got plenty, you don’t need anymore. We’ve got so much.”

The investigation of collusion allegations between Russia and the Trump campaign has been going on for more than a year and the president has publicly made comments about Barr’s performance at the Justice Department.

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Trump aides had banked on the Durham probe being finished before 2020 election to lend credibility to Trump’s claims that his own investigative agencies were working against him. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general in December knocked down multiple lines of attack against the Russia investigation, finding that it was properly opened and that law enforcement leaders were not motivated by political bias.

But Barr has said he and Durham disagreed with the inspector general over whether the FBI had enough information to open a full investigation and, in particular, to use surveillance on a former Trump campaign aide.

Despite being close allies on a range of issues, tensions have flared between Trump and Barr at other points, including earlier this year when Trump was tweeting about Roger Stone’s case. Barr later reversed a recommendation from prosecutors that Stone be sentenced to 7 to 9 years in prison, and critics argued he was doing Trump’s bidding.

Barr said in February that the president’s comments on Twitter were making it “impossible” for him to do his job.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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