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‘Spying did occur’ on Trump campaign: William Barr

April 10, 2019 GMT

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.