Nadler: Barr's spying comments 'directly contradict' what DOJ has said

Nadler: Barr's spying comments 'directly contradict' what DOJ has said

Attorney General William Barr stunned Congressional lawmakers Tuesday when he was asked to comment on whether "spying" took place during the 2016 race for the White House; saying "I think spying did occur". "I think spying on a political campaign-it's a big deal, it's a big deal".

"The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated, but I think I need to explore that".

That's what Barr is telling Congress during his testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing. "It was after my interrogation with the Mueller team that I went out, hired private investigators and found out the guy had used a fake name, Henry Greenberg, and that he had been working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 17 years".

At least some of the information that underpinned the request came from a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, who also was the author of the infamous Russian Federation dossier.

"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016", Representative Jim Jordan of OH, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Tuesday of Barr's interest in the issue. Since Barr released his 4-page summary exonerating Trump, some on Mueller's team have claimed he downplayed the seriousness of their findings. The FBI had placed confidential informants in direct contact with members of the campaign, according to reports.

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Taken all together, at a minimum, Barr generally ratified a view of the Russian Federation investigation that will make Trump very pleased with his new Attorney General. "I have not read the Mueller report", he said. Later he praised FBI Director Christopher Wray. "This was an attempted take-down of a president". Barr also said Tuesday he will release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's full report next week.

During Wednesday's hearing, Barr responded to a question about news reports that he had a special team looking at why the FBI opened a special investigation of Trump during the 2016 campaign.

We also know that key FBI agents involved in the investigation were fiercely opposed to Trump. Barr didn't answer, insisting he has said everything he planned to say about the report until it comes out.

Barr told senators on Wednesday that he believed the Trump campaign had been spied on, but "the question is whether it was adequately predicated".

Asked if Schiff would seek another briefing from the Justice Department on Barr's latest claim, Schiff said: "We'll certainly try to get to the bottom of numerous things he has been saying over the last two days - his references to investigation into the president's political opponents". The FBI relied on the notorious Steele dossier, funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

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