WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday 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, and Barr becomes more frustrated by Trump’s public pronouncements about the case.
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. Trump has also pushed to tie prominent Obama administration officials to that effort as part of his campaign against Joe Biden, who was serving as vice president at the time.
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 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 communicated 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. Barr, meanwhile, has privately expressed frustration over the public comments.