- Attorney General William Barr publicly rebuked President Donald Trump in an interview aired on Thursday, saying so his tweets "Make it impossible for me to do my job."
- Barr also maintained his impartiality, stressing that Trump "never" asked him to "do anything in a criminal case."
- On the same day as the interview The New York Times published an article on the Ministry of Justice's intelligence investigation into Russia's 2016 election electoral investigation.
- The report claims that U.S. District Attorney John Durham, appointed by Barr to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, appeared to be following a theory that the CIA was hiding information from other intelligence agencies.
- Former CIA director John Brennan appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" on Thursday, dismissing Durham's investigation as "kind of silly," but said it adds fuel to criticism that Trump is using the department to pursue his perceived political opponents.
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"I think it's time to stop tweeting about Justice Department criminal matters," said Barr because they "make it impossible for me to do my job."
"I will not be bullied or influenced by anyone … whether it is Congress, a newsroom or the President," added Barr. "I'll do what I think is right. And you know … I can't do my job here in the department with a constant background comment that undercuts me."
In his interview, Barr maintained his impartiality, stressing that Trump "never" asked him to "do anything in a criminal case."
On the same day, The New York Times published a report on the DOJ's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. Barr appointed US Attorney General John Durham to head the investigation. According to The Times, Durham investigated the CIA because of its assessment that Russia wanted to help Trump win the 2016 elections.
Sources told The Times that the investigation had investigated whether members of the CIA tried to prevent other authorities from discovering highly sensitive secrets about their investigation. According to The Times, national security officials have told Durham that intelligence agencies are usually restricted to the exchange of classified information, even with other authorities.
Trump publicly beat up the CIA and its officials, including former director John Brennanto advance the story of a collective of U.S. officials conspiring against him.
Brennan on Thursday appeared on MSNBC's "Hardball" and dismissed the DOJ's investigation as "kind of silly," but said that this fueled criticism that Trump was using the department to pursue its perceived political opponents.
"Are there currently criminal investigations into analytical judgments and the activities of the CIA to try to protect our national security?" he said. "I think it's another indication that Donald Trump is using the Justice Department to pursue his enemies in every possible way."
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment; The department "declined to speak extensively about Mr. Durham's work," The Times wrote.
Trump's perceived influence on the DOJ was put under the microscope this week after the federal prosecutor's office recommended long-term Trump ally Roger Stone a seven- to nine-year sentence.
Trump card mocked the conviction on Twitter as "a terrible and very unfair situation." Barr and senior management overruled the prosecutor's ruling on the case, triggering a mass confiscation of the U.S. attorney's assigned assistants.
Trump later slammed the US district judge who led Stone's case on Twitter and called Stone's conviction "A false Mueller Witch Hunt shame".