Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Attorney General William Barr of spreading conspiracy theories on Wednesday after the Justice Department chief said he thinks “spying did occur” on President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
In a terse tweet, Schumer demanded a retraction from Barr.
“AG Barr admitted he had no evidence to support his claim that spying on the Trump campaign ‘did occur.’ AG Barr must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up. Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
AG Barr admitted he had no evidence to support his claim that spying on the Trump campaign “did occur.”
AG Barr must retract his statement immediately or produce specific evidence to back it up.
Perpetuating conspiracy theories is beneath the office of the Attorney General.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 10, 2019
Barr made the stunning declaration hours earlier to a Senate budget panel.
“I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated — adequately predicated,” Barr testified. “I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.”
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal,” Barr added, an apparent reference to GOP allegations that the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor former Trump 2016 campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
However, later in the hearing, Barr clarified that he hasn’t proven there was any wrongdoing. “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred, I’m saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that’s all,” he said.
Still, Barr’s “spying” bombshell has riled Democrats.
At a Democratic retreat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Barr went “off the rails.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler suggested he was misled and demanded answers. “These comments directly contradict what DOJ previously told us. I’ve asked DOJ to brief us immediately. In the meantime, the AG still owes us the full Mueller report. #ReleaseTheReport,” Nadler, D-N.Y., tweeted.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said such a comment would be pleasing to Trump. “The casual suggestion by the nation’s top law enforcement officer of ‘spying’ may please Donald Trump, who rails against a ‘deep state coup,’ but it strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions. The hardworking men and women at the DOJ and FBI deserve better,” Schiff tweeted.
Barr, who is putting a team together to look into surveillance abuse, also said he expects to release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report “hopefully next week.”
The Judiciary Committee, ruled by Democrats, voted last week in favor of subpoenaing Barr to turn over the entire Mueller report.
However, Nadler said on Tuesday that his panel, which has oversight over DOJ, will not actually issue a subpoena for Mueller’s full report until they see the redacted version provided by Barr.
Author: Daniel Chaitin
Source: Washingtonexaminer: Schumer: Barr must retract ‘spying’ shocker