Attorney General William Barr’s comment that he thinks “spying did occur” by intelligence agencies on the Trump campaign quickly reverberated outside the Senate committee hearing room, raising the hackles of top Democrats.
“The top law enforcement officer of the country should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in ‘spying’ on a political campaign,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a statement. “This type of partisan talking point may please Donald Trump, who rails against a ‘deep state coup,’ but it also strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions.”
Schiff’s fellow chairman Jerry Nadler (D-CA), head of the House Judiciary Committee, also immediately expressed his displeasure.
These comments directly contradict what DOJ previously told us. I’ve asked DOJ to brief us immediately. In the meantime, the AG still owes us the full Mueller report. #ReleaseTheReport https://t.co/DFOP5igcnO
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 10, 2019
Barr somewhat softened his comment later on in the hearing, reclassifying “spying” as “unauthorized surveillance” which would rule out the FISA warrant of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
He said he had “no specific evidence” of spying to reference.