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Attorney General Barr Confirms FBI Spying On The Trump Campaign

Attorney General Barr Confirms FBI Spying On The Trump Campaign

Mr Trump described the investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller as "an attempted coup".

Cable news and social media were abuzz with one of Barr's earlier word choices, when he told senators that he would look into the work of US intelligence agencies directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election because "spying did occur".

"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal".

That second part of the answer - which can be unpacked only with some deep familiarity with the origins of the intelligence probe, the requirements of getting Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, and whether those warrants count as "spying" - was somewhat lost behind Barr's verbiage. A little while ago, he talked about the subject of spying on Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. An attempt to take down the president. "We beat them", the message reads. Whatever we learn from the Mueller report, it is abundantly clear there was a strong counter-intelligence rationale for the investigation. And you know why we fight back?

So I mean, we do know that there was some surveillance targeting people involved in the Trump campaign. It was a scam.

And though the attorney general was reportedly opposed to the idea of reversing course on Obamacare at first, he then expounded on his reasoning for eventually deciding that his department would step back from defending the law, doing so in a way that drew more questions.

'Because this was an illegal witch hunt and everybody knew it, and they knew it too, and they got caught'.

"What they did was treason, what they did was bad, what they did was against our Constitution", the POTUS said. "I believe the Attorney General believes he needs to protect the president of the United States".

Barr told a congressional committee on Tuesday these redactions will be colour-coded and accompanied by notes explaining the grounds for withholding information.

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"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr told senators at a budget hearing that, like a similar House hearing Tuesday, was dominated by questions about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

"Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana", Barr said during the hearing. "The question was whether it was adequately predicated".

Asked again about spying at the end of the hearing, Barr tempered his tone "I am not saying improper surveillance occurred", he said.

The bureau opened its investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after receiving a tip from the Australian government regarding former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.

President Trump and his conservative allies have repeatedly suggested the Obama administration planted a mole in his presidential campaign to undercut his candidacy.

The comments reflect how quickly attention in Washington has flipped from Trump-Russia links to whether the Russia election meddling probe itself acted inappropriately.

He replied: "No, they were not".

BRIAN SCHATZ: I think the word spying could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out.

"Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence which is what they do". The FBI had placed confidential informants in direct contact with members of the campaign, according to reports.