Attorney General William Barr testified on Wednesday that he believes “spying” took place on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to The New York Times. The AG says that he wants to look into efforts made by the FBI to investigate members of Trump’s campaign to be sure that the spying was justified.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said during a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing.
Barr says that now that the Mueller report is complete, he wants to look at the origin and the process of the investigation, including any spying that may have occurred.
“I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he said, according to Fox News. “I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned with intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.”
Barr was careful to say that he wasn’t claiming that anything illegal took place, at this point. He says that he just wants to review the process.
“I am not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at them,” he said.
Barr didn’t provide any details, nor did he provide any evidence for his claims, leaving reporters uncertain as to what the attorney general may be referring to. The New York Times reports that one individual, Carter Page, was monitored by the FBI after he left Trump’s campaign. There may be at least one other individual who collected information confidentially on the campaign.
Barr says that he plans to move forward — with the assistance of FBI Director Christopher Wray — to look into exactly what took place, and what prompted the bureau to investigate the Trump campaign.
Attorney General William Barr, appearing before Congress for a second straight day on Wednesday, said the government spied on the Trump campaign and said he would look into whether any rules were violated https://t.co/xFnvUJ5VG0
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 10, 2019
While speaking to the committee, Barr discussed the Mueller report, which he has said he will release shortly — after redactions have been completed.
He told the committee that he had spoken with Mueller before making the determination that there was no evidence of obstruction of justice. He didn’t provide any specifics about his conversation with Mueller. He added that he would provide more information after the report was released.
“I am looking forward to explaining my decision that I briefly outlined in the March 24 letter, but I don’t think I can do it until the report is out,” he said.
He told the committee that he hoped to make the report available next week, which is an extension from the original time frame of “within a week.”