News

Law & the Courts

CIA Joins Barr in Investigating Origins of Trump Campaign Surveillance

(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Attorney General William Barr has enlisted the help of the CIA to investigate whether the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign was motivated by partisan bias, CNN reported Tuesday.

CIA director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and FBI director Chris Wray are all participating in the investigation, which Barr first announced publicly during a congressional hearing last month.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday evening that Barr has tapped Connecticut U.S. attorney John Durham to help examine the origins of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election, which served as the pretext for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment.

The investigation was launched in response to long-held Republican concerns that the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign was politically motivated and relied on dubious opposition research. These concerns were in part fueled by the revelation that the FISA warrant obtained to surveil Trump campaign national-security adviser Carter Page was based on information provided in the unsubstantiated Steele dossier.

Barr drew the ire of top Democrats last month when he confirmed that he believed the FBI’s surveillance of Page and other campaign officials constituted “spying,” though he stopped short of asserting the surveillance activity was not properly predicated.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr said during a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee. “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.”

Barr went on to defend his use of the term at a subsequent hearing, telling lawmakers that spying “is a good English word” that accurately captures the FBI’s behavior.

Most Popular

Culture

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More
World

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More