U.S. government 'spied' on Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign, attorney general says

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

"I believe there is a basis for my concern, but I'm not going to discuss it", Barr said.

'I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal - it's a big deal, ' Barr said.

'I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. "But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated".

Earlier Wednesday, Barr told a Senate panel he believes "spying did occur" on Trump's presidential campaign, aligning himself more closely with the president's views on the origins of the Russian Federation investigation.

The Justice Department, Barr said, is "operating under my general guidance that I'm accepting the Cole Memorandum for now, but I've generally left it up to the U.S. Attorneys in each state to determine what the best approach is".

"He is not the attorney general of Donald Trump". He was mocked by the media. Indeed, it's already been investigated by the DOJ Inspector General, an investigation that while broadly legitimate was clearly looking for facts helpful to the President.

"But if there's not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of a federal law so we're not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law".

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AG Barr, appearing before a Senate panel, did not say what "spying" had taken place. This was an attempted takedown of a president. "We beat them", the message reads. By focusing on the privacy rights of "peripheral" third parties, Barr may be signalling he will make an exception to the policy in order to allow information to remain unredacted concerning people who, while not charged with crimes, are central to the probe, potentially including Trump.

"If I review the transcript and see a problem, I'll let you know", Barr said with a smile and a slight chuckle. What they did was against our Constitution and everything we stand for, ' Trump said.

'I knew how illegal this whole thing was.

Shaheen then questioned Barr if he believed the bureau spied on members of the Trump campaign.

Barr told the committee that he would review all the intelligence activities directed at Trump's 2016 campaign.

Another key figure who testified before Mueller's grand jury was George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman involved in an effort to set up a back channel between the incoming Trump administration and the Kremlin while Barack Obama was still president, according to a Washington Post report.

For the first time since the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Attorney General William Barr faced questions on Capitol Hill regarding his handling of Mueller's findings, when he plans to release the report and how he will handle the issue of redacted information.

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