The formal memorandum released by the White House late Thursday evening, directing the heads of each agency to “promptly provide” information as Barr requests, illustrates how the White House is seeking to forge full steam ahead with an effort Trump has long demanded.
“Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
While Trump had previously lamented the lack of investigation into the origins of how those associated with his presidential campaign came under investigation, Barr has taken up the President’s call to action, suggesting during a congressional hearing last month that “spying did occur.” Yet Barr has also faced criticism for generally declining to elaborate further on his concerns.
“We should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale,” Barr told Fox News last week, adding that his questions haven’t been adequately answered thus far. “And so I’m not saying that happened, but I’m saying that we have to look at that.”
US officials say that while many interpreted Barr’s initial spying comments to be directed at the FBI, in reality, the core of his concern is the activities of other intelligence agencies at the start of the Russia probe.
This story has been updated.