Did you say 'spying?' Barr walks back testimony after making a stir

Ben Davidson
April 16, 2019

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday he is reviewing the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, declaring he believed the president's campaign had been spied on and wanted to make sure proper procedures were followed.

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. "I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr replied.

Lemon then questioned why Trump has taken a victory lap over the Mueller Report despite not seeing it, suggesting the president has "reason to fear what's coming".

Barr's appearance before the committee was his second in Congress since Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed his report on March 22 about Russian interference in the USA election. By focusing on the privacy rights of "peripheral" third parties, Barr may be signalling he will make an exception to the policy in order to allow information to remain unredacted concerning people who, while not charged with crimes, are central to the probe, potentially including Trump.

Attorney General William Barr has pledged to release next week Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's role in the 2016 USA election and contacts between Moscow and President Donald Trump's campaign, albeit with colour-coded redactions.

Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

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'I think spying did occur, ' Barr said at a Senate hearing in response to a question from Democratic Sen. He said that though he did not have specific evidence of wrongdoing, "I do have questions about it". "Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General".

Barr said he hasn't specifically studied the States Act himself, but the Justice Department is reviewing the legislation. "I believe the attorney general believes he needs to protect the president of the United States".

For months Trump acolytes have been framing Mr Mueller's investigation as a witch hunt and the Russian Federation probe as a "deep state" stitch-up from officials who opposed his presidency.

Democrats say they will not accept any redactions.

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.

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