The Attorney General of the United States on Wednesday stated during a hearing with lawmakers that he believes ‘spying did occur’ by intelligence agencies against the 2016 Trump campaign.
Barr later stated that he is looking into the matter, or the “genesis” of the FBI’s investigation into the presidential campaign, further; “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
The AG also said after lawmakers questioned his statement; “I am saying that I am concerned about it, and I’m looking into it,” he said. “I want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance.”
Barr, later on, clarified his stance; “The question was whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t predicated. I need to explore that.”
After Barr’s report regarding the Muller investigation, prominent Democrats have claimed that William Barr, the Attorney General, is attempting to protect the president.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said; “He is acting as an employee of the president … I believe the Attorney General believes he needs to protect the president of the United States.”
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in an interview with the Associated Press: “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Barr on Twitter of “peddling conspiracy theories.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., added in a statement that Barr “should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in ‘spying’ on a political campaign.”
“This type of partisan talking point may please Donald Trump, who rails against a ‘deep state coup,'” Schiff said, “but it also strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions. The hardworking men and women at the DOJ and FBI deserve better.”
Barr also said that he is withholding clarification on his letter regarding the Muller Investigation until the full appropriately redacted report can be released to both Congress and the public.
The Attorney General’s comments followed a newly released report by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog who is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who contacted members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as part of a broader review of the early stages of the Russia investigation.