April 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney William Barr has revealed new details about the ongoing inquiry into the FBI's origins in the Justice Department's Russia investigation, which he said could lead to criminal charges.
Barr ordered Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham last year to review how the FBI began its Russia investigation into Moscow's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Thursday night, he told Fox News there were errors in the bureau's case that went beyond "just mistakes" or "sloppiness."
"There is something far more troubling here, and we're going to get to the bottom of it," he said. "And if people broke the law, and we can establish that with the evidence, they will be prosecuted.
"[Durham] is looking to bring to justice people who are engaged in abuses if he can show that they were criminal violations, and that's what the focus is on."
Barr ordered the investigation last year to determine if there was any wrongdoing by federal agents or intelligence officials. Former special counsel Robert Mueller ultimately concluded there was no hard evidence that tied President Donald Trump's campaign to Russian operators, but his report left room for the possibility that Trump obstructed the Justice Department's investigation.
Barr said during the interview Durham will probably issue a report with his findings when his investigation is complete.
The attorney general also defended Trump's decision last week to fire Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. He said Atkinson crossed the line by informing Congress about a whistle-blower complaint about Trump's phone call last summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which he asked for investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The complaint ultimately led to Trump's impeachment in the House and acquittal in the Senate.
Trump said he'd "lost confidence" in Atkinson and decided to relieve him of his duties, a move that drew criticism from Democrats.
"[Atkinson] was obliged to follow the interpretation of the Department of Justice and he ignored it," Barr said. "I think the president was correct in firing him."