Attorney General William Barr: I Believe Spying On the Trump Campaign Did Occur
Attorney General William Barr revealed that he believed that the Department of Justice under the previous administration conducted some spying effort on the Trump campaign during Congressional testimony Wednesday.
In a question regarding news that Barr had assembled a special team investigating the origins of the investigation led Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Senator Jeanne Shaheen asked Attorney General Barr why he “felt a need to form that kind of a team and what you intend to be the scope of their investigation”
Barr replied that he would “be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign.”
After Shaheen followed up by asking if Barr could “share with us why you feel the need to do that?” Barr replied, “Well for the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence and elections, we want to make sure that during — I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
Shaheen: “So you’re not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?”
Barr: “I think spying did occur, yes. I think spying did occur.”
Barr then clarified that in his esteem “the question was whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened. ”
He then appeared to reveal his broader plan by admitting publicly “there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon” at the FBI.
President Donald Trump has long maintained that investigators under the Obama administration illegally “wiretapped” Trump Towers during the 2016 campaign.
As recently as earlier Wednesday morning, the president has derided the Mueller investigation as a treasonous attempted coup, and he and his political allies have called for an investigation into the investigation.
Barr’s comments will certainly please the commander in chief and his supporters, who feel like the entire probe has been nothing but a political witch hunt, but raise legitimate questions on the loyalty of the Attorney General: is he serving the President who appointed him (and to which he auditioned with an unprompted 19-page memo outlining why he believed the Mueller investigation to be illegitimate) or is he serving the United States of America?
Watch above via CNN.
UPDATE –– 12:39 pm ET: Later on in the hearing Barr clarified, “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred.”
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org