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Attorney General Barr Says US Intel Agencies Spied on Trump Campaign

© REUTERS / Erin ScottU.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget estimates for the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S. April 10, 2019
U.S. Attorney General William Barr testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget estimates for the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S. April 10, 2019 - Sputnik International
Earlier, the attorney general released a summary of FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on alleged collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential race, clearing the president and his staff of any Russia-related criminal activity.

Attorney General William Barr has said he believes that US intelligence agencies spied on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

"I think spying did occur," Barr said, speaking to senators during a hearing on Wednesday, according to Reuters. "But the question is whether it was adequately predicated, and I am not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated…I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. And I am not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly."

"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal — it's a big deal," Barr stressed.

Activists hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington to call on Attorney General William Barr to immediately release Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, U.S., April 4, 2019 - Sputnik International
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The attorney general noted that he did not overrule Special Counsel Mueller regarding the report's redaction before release, and said that he has not discussed possible redactions with the White House.

Barr also promised not to withhold any derogatory information on Trump contained in the Mueller report, saying concerns about the reputations of individuals not charged in the probe don't apply to "office holders," including the president.

Earlier on Wednesday, a source speaking to the Wall Street Journal said that Barr had asked the Justice Department to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, with the probe said to be aimed at examining the decisions and actions of officials involved during the probe's early stages. A separate review, ordered by the DoJ's inspector general, is probing whether the FBI and federal prosecutors abused their powers in obtaining warrants to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page, with that inquiry expected to be wrapped up by May or June.

Following the release of his four page summary of the Mueller report late last month, Barr promised to make a redacted version of the 400 page report available to Congress in April. He reiterated the promise Wednesday, telling senators that the report would be released within a week.

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On 24 March, the DoJ chief summarised the main conclusions of the Trump-Russia probe, finding no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. The summary does allege that Russia tried attempt to interfere in the race, a claim that Moscow has repeatedly brushed off for lack of evidence. The release of the report's summary proved a blow to over two years of allegations by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party and 'Never-Trump' Republicans claiming that the US president was a Russian Manchurian candidate who owed his loyalty to the Kremlin.

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