Trump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed 'unlawful spying' in email to supporters
The Trump campaign on Friday sent a fundraising email and several text messages to supporters misquoting Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrTrump revived attacks on sanctuary cities to distract from Mueller report release: report We’re about to see the full Mueller report, but will it change anyone’s mind? George Conway suggests Mueller found evidence of collusion MORE, claiming that he had confirmed the existence of “unlawful” spying on President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar says she has faced increase in death threats since Trump tweet Trump rips into Pelosi after ‘puff piece’ ’60 Minutes’ interview Trump revived attacks on sanctuary cities to distract from Mueller report release: report MORE‘s campaign during the 2016 election.
In the email sent Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign claimed falsely that “Attorney General William Barr said what the president has thought all along: He believes “unlawful spying did occur” against Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.”
While Barr did state that “spying did occur” targeting the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, at no point did he conclude that the actions were unlawful, while specifically saying that he could not make such a conclusion.
“I think spying did occur,” Barr said this week during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”
“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 added.
Text messages sent to campaign supporters first reported by ABC News also falsely claimed that Barr concluded that surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 was done “illegally.”
The Trump campaign has just texted supporters looking to fundraise off of AG Barr’s congressional testimony, and falsely claims that Barr said he “believes the Obama Admin illegally spied on Pres. Trump.” pic.twitter.com/hxGvRyWmwY
— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) April 12, 2019
Former intelligence officials swiftly rebuked Barr’s remarks this week, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyWilliam Barr is right to investigate FBI actions during 2016 campaign Trump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed ‘unlawful spying’ in email to supporters Trolling of Bill Barr shows how language is twisted to politics MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed ‘unlawful spying’ in email to supporters Clapper: Barr’s spying claim ‘stunning and scary’ GOP shifts focus to investigating Obama officials MORE.
“I have no idea what he’s talking about so it’s hard for me to comment,” Comey said at a Hewlett-Packard conference.
“I thought it was both stunning and scary,” Clapper added during an interview with CNN on Wednesday. “I was amazed at that and rather disappointed that the attorney general would say such a thing.”
“The term ‘spying’ has all kinds of negative connotations, and I have to believe he chose that term deliberately,” Clapper continued.