President Donald Trump piled more criticism on the status of the Justice Department‘s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, after reports that Attorney General William Barr has said not to expect conclusions before Election Day.
Trump and Barr are increasingly at odds over the investigation, as the president grows insistent that criminal charges be brought.
Trump and his allies had high hopes for the investigation led by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, betting it would expose what they see as wrongdoing when the FBI opened a case into whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to sway the 2016 election. Prominent Obama administration officials, including President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, are tied to the conspiracy.
But a year and a half into the investigation, and with less than one month until Election Day, there has been only one criminal case: a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to altering a government email about a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was a target of secret FBI surveillance.
On Friday, Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that Justice Department investigators had “plenty of time to do it. They’ve been looking at it for two years. The facts are on the table.”
Barr has been said to communicate recently to Republican lawmakers that it’s highly unlikely the report will be completed by Election Day, according to people familiar with the matter. After Limbaugh read Trump an Axios story on the topic, Trump said he’d be disappointed if Barr had relayed that message to lawmakers.
“If Bill Barr actually made that statement, I would be very disappointed in him. I don’t know that he made that statement,” Trump said.
Trump is increasingly airing his dissatisfaction in tweets and television appearances.
Despite Trump’s unhappiness, there’s no indication Barr’s job is at risk in the final weeks of the campaign.
He also said that if he doesn’t win, the investigation will go away.
“If we don’t win, that whole thing is going to be dismissed,” he said.
On Thursday morning, Trump did not hide his displeasure in an interview on Fox News Business.
“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.
The comment followed an earlier barrage of presidential social media posts, including one in which Trump retweeted a doctored image of Barr superimposed with the late “Saturday Night Live” actor Chris Farley in character as a motivational speaker yelling at him. The caption: “for the love of God ARREST SOMEBODY.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter. The White House did not immediately comment.
Since Durham’s appointment, he has cast a broad net in interviewing former government officials, including ex-CIA Director John Brennan. It is unclear when Durham plans to submit his report or how damning any of his final conclusions might be.
Even the outlines of the case involving FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who pleaded guilty in the Durham probe, were already known before he was charged.