Attorney General Barr Says US Intel Agencies Spied on Trump Campaign

Leslie Hanson
April 16, 2019

Democrats have questioned how Barr could boil down Mueller's full report so quickly and allege that it may have been written in a favorable way for the president.

He said he could be open to eventually releasing some of the redacted material after consulting with congressional leaders, but maintained he had no plans to seek a judge's approval to disclose grand jury material.

Democrats have said his summary is not enough.

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".

"We're going to have to make some hard choices", Barr said. "Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General". While opening the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Jose Serrano of NY called it "the elephant in the room".

They come at a time when Barr's independence is under scrutiny from congressional Democrats as he prepares a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russian Federation investigation.

Moran, at the close of the hearing, said the committee would, as it does with all witnesses, welcome anything Barr wanted to amend or correct in his testimony.

'I don't trust Barr, I trust Mueller'.

Barr's comments on the spying topic went sideways about 90 minutes before that in a response to a question from New Hampshire Sen. He said that the letter may have been read to them, but they did not get a hard copy of it.

AG Barr said he expects to release a redacted copy of SC Mueller's report next week, and Dems are expressed concern that his version will hide wrongdoing by the President.

Barr said "the letter speaks for itself" and revealed that he gave Mueller an opportunity to review the letter but the special counsel declined.

Barr was responding to a question from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who asked the attorney general about his position on the proposed Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.

The Justice Department's inspector general has been investigating the early days of the FBI's Russian Federation probe, but Barr has said he wants to pull together the different reviews underway and see if there are remaining questions that need to be addressed.

Asked about reports that members of Mueller's legal team were unhappy with his handling of the report, Barr said he suspected any discontent may have reflected their desire to put out more information. "The question is whether it was adequately predicated". "So numerous questions here today have gone toward a grassy knoll conspiracy theory", Aderholt said.

During Wednesday's hearing before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Barr said he was "not saying improper surveillance occurred" and was looking into the matter. "AG Barr must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up". Although the Department of Justice shot that down in 2017, agreeing that there was no evidence to support this, Barr, the new leader of the DOJ, seems to believe "unauthorized surveillance" may have occurred.

BARR: Is that more appropriate in your mind?

"There is a basis for my concern, but I'm not going to discuss my basis".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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