As reported by FoxNews
Prominent Democrats lined up to hammer Attorney General Bill Barr for testifying Wednesday that federal authorities had spied on the Trump campaign in 2016, with one top House Democrat charging that Barr is not acting “in the best interest of the DOJ or the country.”
“I think spying did occur,” Barr said during the explosive hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. “The question is whether it was adequately predicated. …Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
Barr later clarified in the hearing: “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred; I’m saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that’s all.”
Despite mounting evidence that the FBI pursued an array of efforts to gather intelligence from within the Trump campaign — and the fact that the FBI successfully pursued warrants to surveil a former Trump aide in 2016 — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News that Barr’s loyalties were compromised.
“He is acting as an employee of the president,” Hoyer said. “I believe the Attorney General believes he needs to protect the president of the United States.”
Added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in an interview with the Associated Press: “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Barr on Twitter of “peddling conspiracy theories.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., added in a statement that Barr “should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in ‘spying’ on a political campaign.”
“This type of partisan talking point may please Donald Trump, who rails against a ‘deep state coup,'” Schiff said, “but it also strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions. The hardworking men and women at the DOJ and FBI deserve better.”
Barr’s comments, and the ensuing semantic hullabaloo, followed a new report that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who contacted members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as part of a broader review of the early stages of the Russia investigation.
The New York Times reported that Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is looking into informant Stefan Halper’s work during the Russia probe, as well as his work with the FBI prior to the start of that probe.