Monday, 22 April, 2019

Barr: I Think Spying on Trump Campaign 'Did Occur'

Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill
Leonard Rios | 11 April, 2019, 00:46

Attorney General William Barr stunned Congressional lawmakers Tuesday when he was asked to comment on whether "spying" took place during the 2016 race for the White House; saying "I think spying did occur". The top law enforcement official also said it is his "obligation" to ensure "intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane" and insisted that "spying on a political campaign is a big deal". "I'm not suggesting those rules were violated but I think it's important to look at that", he continued.

Watch Barr's explosive testimony above.

A report on the FBI's alleged FISA abuse is expected in "May or June", Barr told the House hearing. "I'm not talking about the Federal Bureau of Investigation necessarily but intelligence agencies more broadly".

At least some of the information that underpinned the request came from a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, who also was the author of the infamous Russian Federation dossier. The redacted report should be released sometime next week. Barr said at a House hearing Tuesday that the report was coming "within a week".

A person familiar with the process said Barr is forming a team to review the origins of the FBI investigation.

Barr's statement Wednesday that he expected to release a redacted version of Mueller's almost 400-page report next week marked a slight change from the estimate he gave Tuesday, when he said the release would be within a week. "The Trump precedent after only two years is that you can fire the FBI director who is running an investigation in which you may be implicated as president".

According to Fox News, Barr has settled on the Justice Department members he plans to lean on to look into the how the FBI made a decision to investigate Trump in the first place.

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"I don't intend at this stage to send the full unredacted report to the committee", Barr said in response to questions from Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves about whether leaking the full, unredacted report by a member of Congress would be a crime.

Trump also stated that "I don't care" about the report from special counsel Robert Mueller that Barr says he will release in the coming days in redacted form.

Barr told senators on Wednesday that he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on, but "the question is whether it was adequately predicated".

"This is not launching an investigation of the FBI", he added. He said that the letter may have been read to them, but they did not get a hard copy of it.

Barr said he hasn't specifically studied the States Act himself, but the Justice Department is reviewing the legislation. Democrats said they were concerned that Barr's letter portrayed the investigation's findings in an overly favorable way for Trump.

Although Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton received counterintelligence briefings about the threat of infiltration by foreign spies, it isn't clear what they were told.

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