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Barr says U.S. intel spied on Trump's 2016 campaign

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 01:37s

Barr says U.S. intel spied on Trump's 2016 campaign

Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday he would look into whether U.S. agencies illegally spied on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, but acknowledged under sharp questioning by lawmakers that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

Nathan Frandino reports.

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Barr says U.S. intel spied on Trump's 2016 campaign

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR, SAYING: "I think spying did occur." In a stunning statement to senators Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr said he was looking into whether U.S. intelligence agencies crossed the line when they conducted surveillance on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR, SAYING: "I think spying did occur.

But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated.

But I need to explore that." Barr told a Senate budget panel he'll investigate the matter even though the Justice Department's Inspector General is already probing whether the FBI followed the rules as it investigated a Trump campaign adviser.

The use of the word spying raised red flags for Democratic Senator Brian Schatz.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SEN.

BRIAN SCHATZ, (D) HAWAII, SAYING: "I want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said because I think when the attorney general of the United States uses the word spying it's rather provocative and unnecessarily inflammatory.

Because I think the word spying could cause everyone in the cable news ecosystem to freak out?" (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR, SAYING: "I'm not sure of all of the connotations of that word you're referring to, but unauthorized surveillance.

I want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance." Barr later acknowledged he had no specific evidence of wrongdoing by intelligence agencies.

Barr is due to release a redacted version of Mueller's report next week.

He's already submitted a 4-page summary, which revealed that Trump's campaign had not conspired with Russia but did not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice.

Trump on Wednesday renewed his call for a probe of the investigations origins, and without giving evidence, suggested that the probe amounted to "an attempted coup."

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