Over the past four years, Congressional Republicans have asked the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Justice to investigate a number of issues related to conduct by DOJ officials:

  • Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton
  • James Comey’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton
  • Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s text messages sent on FBI-issued phones
  • The use of Christopher Steele’s Dossier in the FISA warrant application for Carter Page
  • The use of Stefan Halper as a confidential human source in the Trump-Russia investigation

(The IG investigated all these issues.) Likewise, three years ago Congressional Democrats asked the IG to investigate two issues: Comey sending his famous letter about Hillary Clinton shortly before the election, and anti-Hillary bias in the FBI’s New York field office as it relates to the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. (The IG investigated the first issue, and it’s unclear whether he investigated/is investigating the second.)

But my question is, have Congressional Democrats asked the Inspector General to investigate any issues related to the conduct of Attorney General Bill Barr or the conduct of other DOJ officials during Barr’s tenure? I ask because they have publicly criticized Barr and his subordinates concerning a number of issues:

  • Barr’s (allegedly) misleading summary of the principal conclusions of the Mueller Report
  • Barr and Rosenstein’s declination decision concerning Obstruction of Justice charges for President Trump
  • Barr’s decision to task US Attorney John Durham with looking into the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation
  • John Durham’s review turning into a criminal investigation and whether it was properly predicated
  • Barr’s meeting with foreign government officials related to John Durham’s review
  • Barr’s role in Trump‘s conduct vis-a-vis Ukraine
  • The decision of the DOJ’s Criminal Division to not open an investigation into President Trump’s conduct vis-a-vis Ukraine after receiving four criminal referrals

So have Congressional Democrats called for IG investigations into whether any of these actions were affected by political bias or were otherwise improper/unethical, given that they have made statements to that effect? And if so, has the Inspector General announced investigations in response to any such requests by Congressional Democrats?

  • 1
    The question reads as a lament that the AG is doing his job
    – user9790
    Nov 6, 2019 at 23:34
  • 3
    @KDog Whether he's properly doing his job is a subject of disagreement, but regardless Congressional Democrats are accusing him of not properly doing his job, so I'm interested in whether they've raised their concerns with the Inspector General. Nov 6, 2019 at 23:42
  • 2
    I think the answer is going to be no as the correct procedure and remedy if the House thought wrongdoing is to impeach Barr
    – user9790
    Nov 6, 2019 at 23:58
  • 1
    @KDog Impeachment is not the only remedy, Inspectors General routinely investigate biased/unethical conduct by executive branch officials (and often at the request of Congressional Committees). Now depending on what the IG finds, it may well provide sufficient basis for impeachment proceedings, but that's a separate issue. Nov 7, 2019 at 0:04
  • 1
    Can the IG even investigate Barr? Nov 7, 2019 at 1:37

1 Answer 1


Have Congressional Democrats asked the IG to investigate Barr’s actions?

There have been two requests covered by multiple news organizations.

Kamala Harris Urges Justice Department Inspector General to Investigate Barr, 5/04/19.

Following up on her intense questioning of Attorney General William Barr earlier this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Kamala Harris sent a letter Friday to the Justice Department’s Inspector General seeking an investigation of Barr.

Specifically, Harris wants to know if President Donald Trump or anyone else in the White House sought to compel Barr to investigate Trump’s political enemies, particularly Hillary Clinton.

Senate Dems call on DOJ watchdog to investigate Barr, 4/30/2019.

Democratic senators called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report.

Led by Senate Judiciary Committee member Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Democrats accuse Barr of misleading the public when he issued a four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election before releasing the full report.

Two additional requests were made in 2020.

House Judiciary Democrats Call for IG Investigation into AG Barr's Politicization of DOJ, May 8, 2020

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) led Judiciary Committee Democratic Members in sending a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz asking him to investigate Attorney General William Barr's improper political interference into several ongoing criminal matters against President Trump's allies.

House Chairs Demand Emergency IG Investigation Into AG Barr’s Efforts to Improperly Influence November Presidential Election, September 18, 2020

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and House Administration Committee Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General to open an emergency investigation into whether Attorney General William Barr, U.S. Attorney John Durham, and other political appointees are in violation of longstanding Department policy and federal law to avoid taking any action–including making public comments on ongoing investigations –that could improperly influence the upcoming presidential election.

[H]as the Inspector General announced investigations in response to any such requests by Congressional Democrats?

As of October 16, 2021, there have no public announcements concerning investigations, related to those requests, at the Office of the Inspector General website.

  • Is it normal for the OIG to comment on current investigations?
    – CramerTV
    Nov 11, 2019 at 23:31
  • @CramerTV - No, but they do report on completed investigations. By providing the address of the OIG website, those who are interested in what the OIG does are free to look at the summary reports and other news.
    – Rick Smith
    Nov 11, 2019 at 23:56

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