Nonetheless, last year, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate potential abuses in the FISA process following complaints by Republican lawmakers. Sessions later asked Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to pursue any criminal conduct relating to the same matter, along with other matters relating to Clinton.

It is unclear why Barr does not simply await those results rather than appoint a new prosecutor to undertake another investigation. If Barr had wanted to expand the scope of the prior investigations, he could have done so without appointing a new investigator. If he were simply replacing Huber with Durham, who, by all accounts is a highly respected and experienced investigator, then he should say so…

In addition to harming the effectiveness of the FBI, Barr’s complicity in Trump’s tactics may also have a chilling effect. By advancing the “investigate the investigators” mantra, Barr may cause the FBI to flinch next time it perceives a threat from powerful people within the government. He is incentivizing the FBI to sit idly by in the face of national security threats. The risk is that under Barr’s leadership, the FBI’s new motto might become “he who does nothing does nothing wrong.”