“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
Attorney General William Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine whether the FBI’s surveillance of President Donald Trump’s Campaign in 2016 was “lawful and appropriate,” The Associated Press reported Monday.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will also be tasked with examining the basis of the Russia investigation, a source told the AP.
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In April, Barr testified before a Senate panel that he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign. “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said then. “I think spying did occur.”
Barr appeared to be alluding to the FBI surveillance warrant on one-time Trump aide Carter Page, as well as the agency’s use of an informant during its investigation into former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. In early May, a bombshell report in The New York Times revealed the FBI sent an undercover agent to London to Papadopoulos in an attempt to find evidence of Russian collusion.
According to The Times, the FBI failed to gather useful evidence against the campaign during the meeting.
Barr, whose handling of the Mueller report has sparked accusations from Democrats that the veteran prosecutor is a “political sycophant,” denied he meant anything pejorative in using the term “spying.” His latest action will only fan the flames of controversy for Democratic lawmakers who believe Barr is in the tank for Trump.