Barr Forms Team to Probe Possible FBI Abuses In Trump-Russia Investigation

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Barr told lawmakers on Tuesday that Mueller declined an offered to review his letter

Mark Warner, a leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a tweet said that Barr "giving a wink and a nod to this long-debunked "spying" conspiracy theory is irresponsible". Now, he said it would be a big deal if the government had, indeed, illegally spied on a political campaign. "I am not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it's important to look at them". But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) demanded of Barr to retract his statement, made earlier on Wednesday, that "spying did occur" during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But at a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, Barr said: "I think spying did occur" on the Trump campaign. 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. Yes, I think spying did occur.

After using the term "spying" - which Trump also has invoked, Barr said: 'But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated'.

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. He later said he wasn't sure there had been improper surveillance but wanted to make sure proper procedures were followed.

He told the media: "This was an attempted takedown of a president. We beat them", the message reads.

Spying on the Trump campaign certainly occurred. Barr responded by asking the congressman: "Do you think it's likely that we are gong to prevail?"

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Democrats called on Barr to immediately "disavow and retract" his comments, saying "there is no evidence of spying".

And though the attorney general was reportedly opposed to the idea of reversing course on Obamacare at first, he then expounded on his reasoning for eventually deciding that his department would step back from defending the law, doing so in a way that drew more questions.

So I mean, we do know that there was some surveillance targeting people involved in the Trump campaign.

Attorney General William Barr has pledged to release next week Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia's role in the 2016 US election and contacts between Moscow and President Donald Trump's campaign, albeit with colour-coded redactions. "What they did was against our Constitution and everything we stand for", he said.

Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN.

According to the New York Times a year ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sent an informant, an unnamed USA academic who teaches in the United Kingdom, to speak to two low-level Trump aides, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, after the agency became suspicious of the pair's Russian contacts.

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