Attorney General William Barr has been issued a waiver to take part in a probe of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian development firm currently under FBI and DOJ investigation for accusations of money laundering, Politico reports.
The waiver is dated April 16 and permits Barr's participation in “the investigation and litigation of the 1MDB matter in which his former law firm represents an entity involved in the matter.”
Barr previously worked as a lawyer for law firm Kirkland & Ellis. A senior partner of the firm, Mark Filip, currently represents Goldman Sachs in the probe into 1MDB. DOJ criminal division head Brian Benczkowski also worked at Kirkland & Ellis previously but received an ethics waiver from White House lawyer Emmet Flood that gave him permission to participate in the investigation.
But critics are concerned that the waiver could allow Barr to see the details of an Eastern District of New York probe into the Trump Victory committee, a political action organization devoted to the re-election of Donald Trump in 2020.
Former federal prosecutor for the Northern Illinois United States Attorney's Office Renato Mariotti said that Barr, despite receiving a waiver, should excuse himself from the investigation. “Given Barr’s highly questionable handling of the Mueller report rollout, there are appearance issues raised whenever he supervises an investigation involving Trump,” Mariotti told Politico. “He should recuse himself for the good of the Department.”
New York prosecutors are investigating allegedly illegal contributions from foreign nationals to the inaugural committee of President Trump in 2017. As part of the inquiry, investigators are determining whether Malaysian fugitive Jho Low, who allegedly stole $4.5 billion from 1MDB, illegally gave $100,000 to the Trump Victory committee.