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MSNBC’s Ari Melber Raises Alarm Over AG Barr’s Growing Powers Under Trump: ‘This is Not Normal’

MSNBC host Ari Melber warned that President Donald Trump’s delegation of broad intelligence declassification authority to his attorney general was “not normal” and effectively made Bill Barr “the most powerful figure in the entire Trump administration.”

Earlier this week, Trump announced that he was granting Barr his own unitary power to declassify intelligence about CIA sources in Russia, as part of the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russian influence during the 2016 campaign. That probe escalated into a Special Counsel investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller after Trump abruptly fired then-FBI Director James Comey two years ago.

“President Trump has handed off his own intelligence powers to a cabinet official and it is not one in the intelligence agencies or one overseeing the military.” Melber pointed out. “Why did he suddenly get this power, which has never been taken from the intelligence agencies before? Well, I’ll tell you the answer. On this one, it is a pretty clear story line. The White House isn’t even claiming this is for national security or a forward-looking policy to serve the public. The White House admits this is all about strengthening Barr’s hand and reviewing the Mueller probe.”

Trump’s decision drew a strong rebuke from vocal Trump critic and former CIA director John Brennan, who characterized it as both an “unprecedented act” and an “outrageous move” aimed at helping the president’s political standing.

In playing out Barr’s new role, Melber contemplated a worst-case scenario where the attorney general seeks to declassify information that CIA officials believe would harm the country if released to the public. “We may be headed for an epic clash between what Trump’s own intel chiefs think is required for security and what Mr. Barr thinks is necessary to probe or undercut Mueller,” he warned.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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