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

Minnie Murray
April 11, 2019

"I think spying did occur. Especially the generation that I grew up in... the Vietnam War period, people were concerned about spying on anti-war people and so forth by the government", said Barr.

"So you're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?" asked Senate Jeanne Shaheen, the ranking Democrat on the Senate appropriations subcommittee. "I think he is doing exactly the right thing". Mueller was appointed as the special counsel to oversee the Russian Federation investigation in May 2017.

While evidence of Obama administration surveillance on the Trump campaign has been public for some time, Barr's declaration is the clearest high-profile statement confirming that the sitting Democratic president oversaw - however remotely - spying on the Republican candidate running to replace him. Specifically, during the 2016 elections, the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into his campaign cast a shadow over it, and following Trump's inauguration in January 2017, a whirlwind of false allegations that Trump colluded with Russian Federation to win the elections were spread by media and politicians, leading to talk of impeachment. That was one of four criteria Barr has said he is using to redact Mueller's almost 400-page report. Barr said at a House hearing Tuesday that the report was coming "within a week".

Trump also asked Barr to investigate the probe's origins, a request that Barr seems willing to heed. "I have not seen the Mueller report, I have not read the Mueller report", he said at the White House.

Caputo said he only learned the individual was an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant after he sat down with investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

I asked Schiff whether one can envision a less alarmist scenario, in which Barr redacts less than we expect (he has vowed not to undertake any redactions to protect Trump) and the Gang of 8 gets a full report.


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. "This was an attempted take-down of a president".

Attorney General William Barr said that he's starting his own inquiry into counterintelligence decisions that may have amounted to political "spying", including actions taken during the probe of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Asked if Schiff would seek another briefing from the Justice Department on Barr's latest claim, Schiff said: "We'll certainly try to get to the bottom of numerous things he has been saying over the last two days - his references to investigation into the president's political opponents".

Associates of Trump's campaign, such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, were targeted by a series of unusual meetings involving intelligence assets.

Aderholt was referring to the "Steele Dossier" that had been put together as opposition research against Trump, including with funding from Democrats.

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