April 19, 2019

Attorney General Barr Confirms FBI Spying On The Trump Campaign

16 April 2019, 10:42 | Randall Craig

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Donald Trump

During Wednesday's hearing, Barr responded to a question about news reports that he had a special team looking at why the FBI opened a special investigation of Trump during the 2016 campaign.

AG Barr's reference to "spying" may refer to a secret surveillance warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.

Barr then told lawmakers that he would launch his own investigation into how the Justice Department opened its probe into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation, and indicated that he already believed top officials had behaved inappropriately - and McQuade said he was preventing Congress from fulfilling its constitutional duties.

A source familiar with Barr's thinking, however, said that he referred to "spying" in the "classic sense" of intelligence collection, not as "pejorative".

After two years of Democrats pursuing Trump with claims that he collaborated with the Russians during the 2016 elections, which an inquiry finally said did not happen, Barr stirred the muddied political waters anew with the claim. "Does Trump finally have his Roy Cohn?"

The Mueller investigation has just wrapped up and, although the US Congress and the public have not yet seen the resulting report, Barr issued his own summary that said Mueller had not found collusion.

"I feel that I have an obligation to ensure government power was not abused", Barr said.

'I think spying did occur, ' Barr said at a Senate hearing in response to a question from Democratic Sen.

He added, "So the Mueller report when they talk about obstruction, we fight back".

'Because this was an illegal witch hunt and everybody knew it, and they knew it too, and they got caught'. And they got caught.

Hawaii Democrat Brian Schatz, had pointedly given Barr an opportunity to rephrase that, "because when the attorney general of the United States uses the word 'spying, ' it's rather provocative and in my view unnecessarily inflammatory". "And what they did was treason".

BRIAN SCHATZ: I think the word spying could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out. And I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated.

Democrats strongly pushed back on Barr's remarks. The FBI and Department of Justice, however, relied on information other than Mr. Steele's dossier in launching its July 2016 investigation into Mr. Trump's key associates, citing a meeting that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign volunteer who pled guilty during the course of the special counsel's investigation to lying to the FBI, had with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic at a bar in London.

'And a lot of this has already been investigated, and a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General at the [Justice] Department.

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