Attorney general says 'I think spying did occur' on Trump's campaign

Alicia Farmer
April 12, 2019

Attorney General William Barr told Congress Tuesday he expects to release his redacted version of the special counsel's Trump-Russia investigation report "within a week", while Democrats criticized his handling of the long-awaited document and demanded he turn it over in full.

Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russian Federation probe is separate from the long-running Office of Inspector General investigation into the Justice Department's handling of the Russian Federation investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has assembled a team to review controversial counterintelligence decisions made by Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, including actions taken during the probe of the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, according to a person familiar with the matter. "He is the attorney general of the United States". Justice Department officials are scouring the almost 400-page document to remove grand jury information and details relating to pending investigations, among other materials. He said he provided Mueller the opportunity to review Barr's controversial March 24, 2019 letter to Congress, in which he outlined the conclusions of Mueller's report, but that Mueller declined the opportunity review the draft or to provide input.

He easily kept his poise, deftly defusing their attempts to make him look like he has something to hide simply because he's committed to upholding the requirements and fundamental traditions of our justice system by redacting grand jury material and derogatory information about people not charged with crimes when he provides the Mueller Report to Congress. The attorney general said he expects to release a redacted version of Mueller's report on Russian interference in the campaign next week.

Republicans defended Barr, with Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt comparing Democrats' questions to theories surrounding President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

He is likely to be asked to further explain himself at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday that is also on the budget.

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"Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it's more suspicious than impressive", Lowey said.

The FBI's July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was formally opened by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Jerry Moran. He said that though he did not have specific evidence of wrongdoing, "I do have questions about it".

"I think spying did occur", Barr told the senators, his words blowing another massive hole in the Democrats' carefully-crafted messaging edifice.

Barr's reference to "spying" may refer to a secret surveillance warrant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained in the fall of 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing and has denied being a Russian spy.

Other Democrats made similar comments on Barr's decisions related to the review of Mueller's probe, which, according to Barr, found no evidence of collusion and did not make a determination on obstruction of justice.

Predictably, Trump has now extended his 180-degree turnaround from last week on releasing Mueller's report to deriding Mueller and his team, right on schedule.

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