- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The public is going to have to wait a little longer to learn the revelations from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ultra-secret review of the origins of the Russia investigation, Attorney General William P. Barr said Tuesday.

In an interview with conservative talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mr. Barr said the long-awaited release of probe’s conclusions is “not imminent.”

Mr. Barr said he’ll update the public “as soon as we feel we have something that we are confident to tell the people about.”

Fox News Channel reported last week that Mr. Durham was on pace to finish his probe by the end of the summer. But a source also told the news outlet that Mr. Durham could take until September to complete the investigation because the coronavirus pandemic has slowed him.

If the probe runs into fall, it would bump up against the presidential election and a Justice Department guideline banning the announcement of politically charged investigations at a time that could affect an election outcome.

Mr. Barr said that won’t be an issue because nobody Mr. Durham is scrutinizing are running for office.

“The idea is you don’t go after candidates … or perhaps someone that’s sufficiently close to a candidate, that’s it’s essentially the same you know, within a certain number of days before an election. But … I don’t think any of the people whose actions are under review by Durham fall into that category,” he said.

Mr. Barr said he is very troubled by what the probe has uncovered so far.

“I wouldn’t use the word shocked,” he said. “I’m very troubled by it, but you know, I think the reason that we have this investigation is because there are a lot of things that are unexplained. And I think we’re getting deeply into the situation, and we’ll be able to sort out exactly what happened.”

The attorney general appointed Mr. Durham to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the origins of the Russia probe, through Mr. Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

In the interview Tuesday, Mr. Barr also said the Justice Department would support legal action against governors that refuse to lift strict social distancing rules even after coronavirus cases begin to subside in their state.

Calling the stay-at-home orders “burdens on civil liberties,” Mr. Barr said if lawsuits are brought the Justice Department would not side with the states.

“The idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest. I’m not saying it wasn’t justified. I’m not saying in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood,” he said.

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