Attorney General Barr tells Congress that 'spying' on Trump campaign 'did occur'

William Barr forms team to review FBI’s actions in Trump probe

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she doesn't trust Attorney General William Barr, and she suggests his congressional testimony Wednesday undermines his independence as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal", Barr told the panel.

"I think spying did occur", he said. "I think he is doing exactly the right thing". "And I'm not talking about the Federal Bureau of Investigation necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly".

Barr's inquiry into the origins of the Russian Federation probe is reportedly separate from the long-running investigation being conducted by the inspector general's office in the Department of Justice into aspects of the Russian Federation probe, including whether law enforcement officials abused their powers to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser.

"I feel that I have an obligation to ensure government power was not abused", Barr said.

Barr confirmed he was opening a review into whether the investigation, which eventually became Special Counsel Robert Mueller's collusion and obstruction probe, was justified. "I'm glad Attorney General Barr today reiterated his belief that the current situation is untenable and that the STATES Act is an approach he would be interested in pursuing, and I hope my colleagues will hear his loud and clear call for Congress to act". That was one of four criteria Barr has said he is using to redact Mueller's almost 400-page report.

Caputo said he only learned the individual was an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant after he sat down with investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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Last week, the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for the full Mueller report.

Murkowski told Barr that there would be a group of senators willing to work with him and the Justice Department after the department's review.

He spoke moments after President Trump complained of an "attempted coup" against him, invoked "treason, ' and blasted the Mueller investigation as 'illegal" - while calling for looking back at how it 'all started'.

Barr's comments came in response to questions from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Barr about a team he had indicated the day before that he was putting together to investigate the FBI's handling of its Russian Federation probe during the 2016 campaign, prior to the appointment of a special counsel.

Barr, without hesitation, said, "Yea, yes, senator". The one possible exception he left open: If the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees wanted to see the full report, Barr seems to suggest he would be willing to talk to them about that. The CIA used at least one informer to collect information about it.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans have dubbed the counterintelligence probe "Spygate", especially regarding the FBI's use of an informant named Stefan Halper.

Aderholt was referring to the "Steele Dossier" that had been put together as opposition research against Trump, including with funding from Democrats.

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