Attorney General William Barr speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and Attorney General William Barr covered a wide range of topics during an interview which aired on Wednesday and Thursday nights. (Both segments can be viewed in the videos below.)
Ingraham brought up the media’s outrage over the DOJ’s pursuit of Mexican drug cartels during a pandemic. She showed a clip of Chuck Todd speaking with his colleagues who were both baffled and angry about it.
Barr responded to this criticism by saying, “Well, it may come as a surprise to some of these people that the federal government, the Justice Department specifically, has 115,000 people who are dedicated to protecting the public safety including preventing narcotics trafficking and we are actually able to do more than one thing at a time.” A smile crossed his face.
He pointed out that “drugs kill 70,000 Americans a year. 70,000 a year. It’s a poison. And we have to make sure that during this period, the cartels are not taking advantage of the United States and pumping this poison into the United States.”
He’s always amazed when he hears anchors questioning why the DOJ would be involved in these activities during a pandemic and added, “Business for the Department of Justice has to continue.”
Barr said as horrible and as tragic as this pandemic is, there are a couple of good things that can flow from this experience. One is that people will start to appreciate the importance of borders and controlling who is coming into the country.
He believes the real threat to human beings are “microbes and being able to control disease and that starts with controlling your border. I think people will be more in tune to protective measures.”
The Attorney General said that the supply chain issue must be addressed. “The idea that much of what we need to protect the health of the American people is in the control of foreign governments who can interdict and say we’re not shipping stuff to the United States – when everyone else in the world wants it during an pandemic – was a crazy situation to get into. It happened before this administration, and the president’s trying to deal with it.”
Ingraham asked Barr about China’s refusal to be truthful with the U.S. government about the origins of the virus. She said that much of this data is being withheld still from the United States. Barr explained:
Yes. The Department is heavily engaged in that, in fact that’s one of our highest priorities in the counter intelligence realm, counter espionage realm, and protection of trade secrets as our activity’s directed to defend against the Chinese. The Chinese are engaged in a full-court blitzkrieg of stealing American technology, trying to influence our political system, trying to steal secrets at our research universities and so forth. And we are focused on it. We have something we call the China Initiative. We’ve brought a lot of indictments, but it’s something that we also have to expose by letting the business community understand exactly the nature of the threat.
“Given what you know today about the panoply of abuses internationally against the United States,” asked Ingraham, “Who’s the bigger threat to America’s election security – Russia, or China?
“In my opinion it’s China. And not just to the election process, but I think across the board there’s simply no comparison. China is a very serious threat to the United States geopolitically, economically, militarily, and a threat to the integrity of our institutions given their ability to influence things,” answered Barr.
Barr criticized the media for going on a “jihad” against President Trump to discredit the use of hydroxychloroquine. “The politicization of decisions like hydroxychloroquine has been amazing to me,” the attorney general said. “Before the president said anything about it, there was fair and balanced coverage of this very promising drug, and the fact that it had such a long track record, that the risks were pretty well known, and as soon as he said something positive about it, the media’s been on a jihad to discredit the drug, it’s quite strange.”
Questioned about the Trump Administration’s response to the pandemic, Barr replied:
One of the things that I think the president has done very well here is to use the strength of the federal system where certain decisions should be made in Washington perhaps, but also allowing each state to adapt to the situation that confronts it and make their own choices…
There is a power for the government to take extraordinary steps in genuine emergencies. That obviously creates a slippery slope, what do you call an emergency. And I am concerned that we not get into the business of declaring everything an emergency, and then using these kinds of sweeping extraordinary steps…
I think the president has made the right decisions for the right reasons. I think against the advice of many people, he closed the borders. And I think when the history of this is written, that’s going to have saved a lot of lives.
Barr also discussed the FBI’s abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). He told Ingraham: “I think it’s very sad and the people who abused FISA have a lot to answer for, because this was an important tool to protect the American people…They abused it. They undercut public confidence in FISA but also the FBI is an institution and we have to rebuild that.” It is Barr’s opinion that safeguards would “enable us to go forward with this important tool.”
The interview concluded with a discussion of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation. Ingraham asked him when we can expect a report. Barr said:
Well I think a report, may be and probably will be a by-product of his activity. But his primary focus isn’t to prepare a report. He is looking to bring to justice people who were engaged in abuses if he can show that there were criminal violations. And that’s what the focus is on. And as you know being a lawyer, you, yourself, building these cases especially the sprawling case we have between us that went on for two or three years, it takes some time. It takes some time to build a case. So he’s diligently pursuing it. My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes and sloppiness. There’s something far more troubling here. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it…
I think what happened to him [Trump] was one of the greatest travesties in American history, and without any basis they started this investigation of his campaign, and even more concerning, actually is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events while he was president to sabotage the presidency.
The Attorney General said, “My own view is that the evidence shows that we’re not dealing with just mistakes and sloppiness. There’s something far more troubling here. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” And he still considers the deep state’s assault on the President to be “one of the greatest travesties in American history.” These two statements, in my opinion, were the most important takeaways from the interview. Durham’s investigation has been going on for nearly a year, even longer by some accounts, and Barr remains convinced that the Democrats worked to sabotage Trump’s presidency. It’s easy for us to become discouraged and say ‘nothing will happen’ because, outside of a few leaks from the CIA or other similar entities, we never hear anything. But Barr’s response to this question reassures us that they’re on it and that nothing Durham’s team has uncovered so far has changed his mind.
And that’s good news.
Watch the whole interview below.