William Barr says 'spying did occur' on Trump campaign during Obama era

Maricruz Casares
Abril 16, 2019

"For the same reason we're anxious about foreign influence in elections, I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr said. 'He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump.

Asked about reports that members of Mueller's legal team were unhappy with his handling of the report, Barr said he suspected any discontent may have reflected their desire to put out more information.

"This struck me like lightning that one person decide - I assume the president wants you to - made this decision and everything that was done by way of proper legislative action has been taken and signature of a president, I just don't ever recall anything like this happening in the past quarter of a century", Sen.

"I think spying did occur", Barr told Congress, without presenting evidence. Reporters and anchors are quibbling that ... well, yes there was some surveillance of people tied to the campaign so ... well this could be called "spying" but ...

"I'm not going to discuss it any further until after the report is out", he said. "It was my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying, and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again".

William Barr was asked whether spying occurred on the Trump campaign during the 2016 White House race. Page had left the campaign, but could reasonably be expected still to communicate with it. The investigation ultimately led to no charges against any Trump associates for crimes related to Russian Federation.

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According to a March 24 letter Barr sent to lawmakers, Mueller's almost 400-page report presents evidence on both sides of the question of whether Trump engaged in obstruction of justice, and while it "does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him".

Earlier, the attorney general released a summary of FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on alleged collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race, clearing the president and his staff of any Russia-related criminal activity.

WILLIAM BARR: I think there was - spying did occur. What exactly did the attorney general say? All four are on a panel known as the Gang of Eight that is regularly briefed on the most sensitive intelligence matters. He reiterated the promise Wednesday, telling senators that the report would be released within a week.

His comments before a Senate panel on Wednesday suggest the origins of the Russian Federation investigation may have been mishandled.

Though he said the document will be redacted to withhold negative information about peripheral figures in the investigation, Barr said that would not apply to Trump, who is an officeholder and central to the probe.

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 hide wrongdoing by the President. "I'm not talking about the Federal Bureau of Investigation necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly", Barr said.

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