AG Barr has spoken out and made it clear in no uncertain terms that spying did occur on the Trump campaign during Obama’s watch.
The Hill reported that sitting in the hot seat of a high-profile congressional hearing has a way of unmasking the mettle of any witness.
Attorney General William Barr showed us Tuesday, in his first testimony since the end of the Russia probe, that he’s not big on emotion, animation or flashy presentations. Calm, scholarly and precise was his modus operandi, even as Democrats tried to lob a bomb or two his way.
But the even-keeled nature of his two-hour-plus performance shouldn’t blind us to one momentous declaration he made to lawmakers.
Though it didn’t happen on his watch, Barr told Congress he will investigate how the FBI came to conduct a counterintelligence investigation against Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, starting in the summer of 2016.
We have known for more than a year now that Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating whether the FBI or DOJ abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to secure a warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page less than three weeks from Election Day 2016.
Barr says he plans to look into FBI and DOJ conduct.
Watch the video:
Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that the FBI under President Obama did spy on President Trump’s campaign — though he said he has yet to conclude whether it was legal and correct.
“I think spying did occur,” he told the Senate. “The question is whether it was adequately predicated.”
Mr. Barr was elaborating on his announcement a day earlier that he was reviewing the Justice Department’s move to obtain a secret wiretap warrant on a Trump campaign figure, and the opening of an investigation into other associates of Mr. Trump during and after the campaign.
“I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities to get at the Trump campaign during 2016,” he told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Mr. Barr said his review will involve looking at the information already gathered by other probes, including an ongoing inspector general’s look at the FBI’s use of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on onetime Trump adviser Carter Page and on congressional probes. There’s also supposed to be a probe by Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber, though Mr. Barr didn’t mention that by name.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, prodded Mr. Barr over his review, wondering what the purpose was.
He suggested it should have been obvious for anyone from his generation of the Vietnam war era, when the government was deployed to spy on political actors.
He said rules were developed in the aftermath to control that sort of activity.
“I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated but I think it’s important to look at that,” he said.