Attorney General William Barr says he believes the Obama Administration spied on the Trump campaign in 2016.
His comments would confirm a story that became known as “Spygate.” President Trump had said last May that he believed the FBI placed informants within his campaign. Democrats, and many in the media, mocked Trump’s claim as a “conspiracy theory.”
Rep. Adam Schiff responded to the claim last May by insisting it was untrue.
“This claim by the president … that there was a political spy embedded in the Trump campaign is nonsense,” Rep. Schiff told Meet the Press.
The FBI acknowledged placing informants in the Trump campaign as part of what it called “Operation: Crossfire Hurricane,” but insisted the project was merely intended to ensure Russia was not unduly interfering with the United States’ presidential election.
Barr suggested the purpose was less innocent.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told the Democratic senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen. “I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated.”
“The generation I grew up in which is Vietnam war period, people were all concerned about spying on anti-war people and so forth by the government and there were a lot of rules put in place to make sure there’s an adequate basis before our law enforcement agencies get involved in political surveillance,” Barr continued. “ I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that. And I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.”
The FBI informant, Stefan Halper, is a former Cambridge professor who helped the CIA oversee a spying operation of the 1980 presidential election.