Top Senate Democrat Demands A.G. William Barr Explain Why He’s Looking Into Russia Investigation Origin

William Barr after a hearing.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

A top Senate Democrat is demanding that Attorney General William Barr appear before Congress and explain why he is re-opening a probe into the origin of the Russia investigation, appearing to follow a theory that has become a reported talking point of Donald Trump.

Mark Warner, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement on Friday telling Barr he must explain why the investigation has been re-opened. As CNN reported, Barr’s initial probe into the intelligence that led to the investigation of allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election has now turned into a criminal investigation.

The investigation is being led by federal prosecutor John Durham, and CNN noted that the move to a criminal investigation will give him power to subpoena witnesses. Donald Trump has purportedly floated theories that the Russia investigation was improperly started and that he is a victim of the “deep state” aimed at keeping him from the presidency, and later, as the investigation continued after he took over the White House, to remove him from office.

Warner on Friday noted that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no evidence to back up Trump’s claims.

“Senate Intel is wrapping up a three-year bipartisan investigation, and we’ve found nothing remotely justifying this,” Warner tweeted. “Mr. Barr’s ‘investigation’ has already jeopardized key international intelligence partnerships. He needs to come before Congress and explain himself.”

Donald Trump is now facing an impeachment inquiry that appears to be connected to his theory that the Russia investigation was fraudulent. Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate allegations that the country is hiding a Democratic National Committee server that far-right theories claim will prove that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly concluded that Russia, at the behest of President Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC emails and disseminated them in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton politically.

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Trump and allies claim that evidence on the DNC server would disprove this theory, and some have accused Ukraine of hiding the server. As many have pointed out, the DNC did not use a physical server to operate its computer system but rather contracted for a series of cloud-based servers.

As NBC News noted, experts who have followed the DNC server theory closely say that Donald Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate is “detached from any sense of logic.”

“It’s a whole new mountain of nonsense,” said Duncan Campbell, a British digital forensics expert who investigated Trump’s original claims.