FLASH: Wednesday, USAG William Barr said that he believes “spying did occur” on Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russia investigation may have been mishandled and aligning himself with the President on the matter.
AG Barr, appearing before a Senate panel, did not say what “spying” had taken place. He later said he is not sure there had been improper surveillance but will make sure proper procedures were followed.
His declaration gave a boost to President Trump and his supporters who insist his campaign was unfairly targeted by the 8th floor political players at the FBI.
AG Barr testified for a 2nd day at a congressional budget hearing that was dominated by questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation.
AG Barr said he expects to release a redacted copy of SC Mueller’s report next week, and Dems are expressed concern that his version will conceal wrongdoing by the President.
AG Barr was asked about spying by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS). He said that though he did not have specific evidence of wrongdoing, “I do have questions about it.”
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” AG Barr said.
Asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) if he believed spying on the campaign occurred, and AG Barr said, “Yes I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated.”
AG Barr said he is reviewing his department’s actions in investigating Trump. A separate investigation is being conducted by the Justice Department inspector general into the early days of the FBI’s Russia probe, which Barr said he expects to conclude sometime around May or June.
“I feel that I have an obligation to ensure government power was not abused,” he said.
AG Barr’s reference to “spying” may refer to a secret surveillance warrant that the FBI obtained in the Fall of Y 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has denied being a Russian spy. That warrant included a reference to research that was conducted by an ex-British spy who was funded by Democrats to look into Trump’s ties to Russia.
Critics of the Russia investigation say the warrant on Mr. Page was unjustified and have also seized on anti-Trump text messages sent and received by one of the lead agents involved in investigating whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
At the White House Wednesday, President Trump repeated his claim that the investigation was illegal.
“It was started illegally. Everything about it was crooked. Every single thing about it. There were dirty cops,” he said.
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