President Trump said Friday that his 2016 presidential campaign had been “conclusively” spied on in an act of “treason.”
“My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation,” the president said in a tweet. “TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!”
The president’s tweet comes several days after Attorney General William Barr appointed John Durham, the US attorney in Connecticut, to look into the origins of the Russia probe.
Durham was tapped to determine if the government’s methods of collecting intelligence involving the 2016 Trump campaign were “lawful and appropriate,” a source told The Associated Press.
During testimony before the House Appropriations Committee last month, Barr suggested the campaign was spied on, saying he would be looking into the “genesis” of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe that began in 2016 of potential ties between the campaign and Russia.
Barr told Congress he believed “spying did occur” but did not provide details.
But he appeared to be alluding to a surveillance warrant the FBI obtained on former Trump associate Carter Page and the FBI’s use of an informant while the feds were investigating former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.
The attorney general told The Wall Street Journal in a new interview that his review of the origins of the Russia probe is centered on US intelligence gathering before the FBI launched its formal inquiry in 2016.
“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” Barr told the Journal in his first interview as AG. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”
He added: “Just like we need to ensure that foreign actors don’t influence the outcome of our elections, we need to ensure that the government doesn’t use its powers to put a thumb on the scale.”
Barr said the investigation – which is examining intelligence and surveillance used during the Russia probe that shadowed Trump’s presidency for almost two years — also could lead to rule changes for counterintelligence probes of political campaigns.
Democrats have accused the president of using the allegations to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings that Russia helped Trump’s 2016 campaign and that he could not exonerate the president on whether he tried to impede Mueller’s probe.
Mueller did not find a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia.
During an interview with Fox News on Friday, Barr said that he has been “trying to get answers to questions” about the origins of the Russia probe, but “I found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate.”
“People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale,” Barr told Fox News in San Salvador, where he was discussing gang violence and the border crisis.
The post Trump says his 2016 campaign was ‘conclusively spied on’ appeared first on New York Post.