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

Thursday, 11 Apr, 2019

He said he had an obligation to make sure "government power is not abused". "I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, it's a big deal ..."

That's not exactly a rousing endorsement for ending the federal war on marijuana, but it's a newsworthy admission from America's top cop-an acknowledgment that states are going to continue openly defying federal pot prohibition, which puts the Department of Justice in an increasingly untenable situation.

He also said that this investigation was not targeting the FBI as a whole, and he didn't think any issues were "endemic" of the agency.

According to Fox News, Barr has settled on the Justice Department members he plans to lean on to look into the how the FBI chose to investigate Trump in the first place.

In an interview, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that this claim is nothing short of alarming.

"I think spying did occur", Barr told a Senate Appropriations panel on Wednesday.

Schiff pointed out that the bipartisan Gang of 8 - the leaders and intelligence committee chairs in both parties - were already briefed by the Justice Department after Trump made yet another version of the assertion.

Barr refused to answer Van Hollen's question several times, saying he would say more when the report was out. 'There is a hunger for that to happen in this country like nothing I've ever seen before, including all of the millions of people that voted for me'.

Republican Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama asked Barr during Tuesday's hearing if the Justice Department is investigating "how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for FISA order on a USA citizen?" While a four-page letter released by Barr summarizing Mueller's main conclusions said the special counsel did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russian Federation and Trump associates around the time of the 2016 election, it also said Mueller had presented evidence on both sides of the obstruction question and ultimately did not reach a conclusion on it. According to Trump, Americans would now like to see the investigators investigated. It's a big deal. Fusion GPS, in turn, hired former MI6 officer Christopher Steele and worked with former Central Intelligence Agency contractor Nellie Ohr, wife of high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr. "And that new attorney general can also initiate inquiries into the president's political opponents".

Barr confirmed he was opening a review into whether the investigation, which eventually became Special Counsel Robert Mueller's collusion and obstruction probe, was justified.

But that was before Barr released his four-page analysis of Mueller's report, which said the president was not exonerated by the special counsel.

Some have pointed out that Schiff is undertaking those redactions with Mueller's input, and that this should alleviate concerns. Politico reports he later added, "I have no specific evidence that I would cite right now". Two years later, Mueller's report concluded that Trump did not collude with Russian Federation.

Barr's office is working with Mueller's team to redact it.