The president has been consumed for months with the hope that the Durham investigation would provide him evidence that the Russia inquiry was an effort to smear him. He has told advisers he hoped for indictments of top former Obama administration national security officials or even Mr. Obama or Mr. Biden themselves. Short of that, he hoped for a report with the imprimatur of the Justice Department detailing their actions in 2016, according to people briefed on the conversations.

Beyond his public comments, the president has also conveyed to Mr. Barr, directly and through surrogates, that he wanted “scalps,” according to two government officials familiar with the conversations…

While Mr. Barr defied the president’s desire for pre-election action, Mr. Pompeo bowed to Mr. Trump’s wishes a day after he publicly chastised the secretary of state for not cooperating. Mr. Pompeo told Fox News that he would release at least some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails from when she was secretary of state and using a private server…

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pompeo explained why they would release the emails now, in the final weeks of a hotly contested presidential campaign, given that they could have done so at any point in the past four years. Nor did they explain why they would seek to prove that Mrs. Clinton was too casual with emails containing classified information by releasing emails containing classified information.