BARR: “This is especially true for the upcoming elections in November. We live in a very divided country right now and I think that it is critical that we have an election where the American people are allowed to make a decision, a choice, between President Trump and Vice President Biden based on a robust debate of policy issues. And we cannot allow this process to be hijacked by efforts to drum up criminal investigations of either candidate. And I am committed that this election will be conducted without this kind of interference. Any effort to pursue an investigation of either candidate has to be approved by me.
What happened to the president, and I have said this many times, what happened to the president in the 2016 election in the first two years of his administration was abhorrent. It was a grave injustice and it was unprecedented in American history. The law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of this country were involved in advancing a false and utterly baseless Russian collusion narrative against the president. The proper investigative and prosecuted standards of the Department of Justice were abused, in my view, in order to reach a particular result.
We saw two different standards of justice emerge. One the applied to President Trump and his associates and the other the applied to everybody else. We can’t allow this ever to happen again. The Durham investigation is trying to get to the bottom of what happened and it will determine whether there were any federal laws broken and if there were, those who broke the laws will be held to account. But this cannot be, and it will not be, a tit for tat exercise. We are not going to lower the standards just to get a result.
The only way to break away from a dual system of justice is to make sure we scrupulously apply a single and proper standards of justice for everybody. Under the long-standing standards of the department criminal charges are appropriate only when we have enough evidence to prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the standard we are applying. Now, I have a general idea of how Mr. Durham’s investigation is going. As I have indicated some aspects of the matter are being examined as potential crimes.
But we have to bear in mind with the Supreme Court recently reminded in the Bridgegate case. The court said there is a difference between an abuse of power and a federal crime — not every abuse of power — no matter how outrageous is necessarily a federal crime. As to President Obama and Vice President Biden whatever the level of involvement based on the information I have, I do not expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”