Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that he is looking into efforts by the FBI to investigate members of the Trump campaign before the 2016 election, saying he believes “spying” took place and he needs to be sure it was justified.
“I think spying did occur,” Barr said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”
“I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016,” Barr told lawmakers. “A lot of this has already been investigated and a substantial portion that’s being investigated is being investigated by the inspector general of the department.”
Later, when asked to clarify his remarks and characterization that he believes there was “spying” during the election, Barr said he wants to make sure there was no “unauthorized surveillance” during 2016.
Barr downplayed recent reports that he had formed a team to investigate the FBI’s actions in the original Russia counterintelligence probe, but said he had in mind bringing “some colleagues” together to review information turned up by the inspector general investigation, as well as Republican-led congressional probes to determine whether there is a need for further investigation at the Justice Department.
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