Ex-DNI chief: 'Stunning and scary' that Barr would raise spying allegation

Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill

Attorney General William P. Barr appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill

The very same congressional Democrats who maintain "Russiagate" was real are denouncing Attorney General William Barr's claim there was improper surveillance of the Trump campaign as a conspiracy theory.

The president's comments came a day after Barr testified at a congressional hearing that he believes "spying did occur" on the campaign, suggesting the origins of the Russian Federation investigation that shadowed Trump's presidency for almost two years may have been mishandled.

The attorney general noted that he did not overrule Special Counsel Mueller regarding the report's redaction before release, and said that he has not discussed possible redactions with the White House.

Barr testified before lawmakers that he thinks "there was spying" on the Trump campaign and he defined spying as "unauthorized surveillance".

'And a lot of this has already been investigated, and a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the Office of Inspector General at the [Justice] Department.

He said the Justice Department would release a redacted version of the Mueller report next week.

"Once we get those comments, we'll be able to work with you on any concerns about (the bill)", he said in response to questions asked by Sen. "I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated but I need to explore that".

"You'll recall that the special counsel did spin off a number of cases that are still being pursued", Barr told lawmakers.

In March 2017, Trump accused his predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, of "wire tapping" the Trump Tower offices in NY before the presidential election in November 2016, claiming the former president had overseen a "Nixon/Watergate"-style intervention".

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Barr said in the summary released last month that Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, instead presenting evidence on both sides of the question.

Barr said he hasn't specifically studied the States Act himself, but the Justice Department is reviewing the legislation.

On Tuesday, Barr had revealed under questioning in the House that he was reviewing Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct during the campaign. "As far as I'm concerned, I don't care about the Mueller report".

Although he was non-specific about what he was referring to by spying, Barr mentioned the intelligence community.

Trump, who has previously raised the spying allegation without presenting any evidence, said on April 10 that the investigation into possible links between his campaign team and Russian Federation was an "attempted coup", and "an attempted takedown of a president".

Barr said the legislation is still being reviewed by his office but that he would "much rather. the approach taken by the STATES Act than where we now are".

BARR: Is that more appropriate in your mind?

While Mr Trump was flying off to Texas, America's top law official was appearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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