‘Spying did occur’ by intelligence agencies on Trump campaign - AG Barr

President Donald Trump listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in speak during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House Thursday

Attorney General William Barr dropped a bombshell Wednesday, telling a group of senators that he believes spying against the Trump campaign did take place in 2016.

"We want to make sure that during elections - I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal".

Barr was elaborating on a statement he made at an earlier hearing on Tuesday that he is putting together a team to review the origins of the FBI's investigation into Trump's campaignregarding allegations of collusion with Russian Federation.

'I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. "Although the President would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report", Barr wrote in that letter, "he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me and, accordingly, there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review".

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"I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of the intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016", Barr said.

"We're going to have to make some hard choices", Barr said. "And will the released report include details on the obstruction issue and why, as you noted, the president is not exonerated, or will that information be redacted?"

Alleged abuse of power and alleged bias by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ have been longstanding themes of Trump and allies since special counsel Robert Mueller was commissioned to investigate whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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.

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In the March 24 letter, Barr said that Mueller's investigation did not establish that members of Trump's election campaign conspired with Russian Federation. "A lot of this has already been investigated, a substantial portion of it has been investigated and is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General at the department", he said.

Attorney General William Barr arrives to testify before a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

President Trump continued to blast the investigation as an "attempted coup" and an act of treason.

United States intelligence officials have previously said they were spying on the Russians, not the Trump campaign.

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Barr said that he will not be investigating the entire Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It's not entirely clear what spying Barr is specifically referring to. "And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said", wrote the New York Times.

While there have been plenty of indicators that the Trump campaign was under surveillance, Barr's comments appear to be the closest to an official acknowledgement yet.

Supporters of the probe insist that USA officials were acting appropriately and in the public interest by investigating claims over the Trump campaign's engagements with Russian-linked figures.

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