Attorney General William Barr delivered stunning, albeit obviously honest, remarks during congressional testimony today in response to Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen about his intent to review prior intelligence activities in targeting the Trump campaign.
Before getting to the video and transcript, it is important to note how this line of questioning surfaces. The professional political apparatus, primarily Democrats – but also Republicans, who participated in the ‘soft coup’ effort are attempting to gauge the landscape of their risk by identifying AG Barr’s intention. This line of questioning is NOT organic or random; it is deeply purposeful and scripted. You can smell the fear.
Shaheen is being asked by allies within the Administrative state, including interests no longer holding political office, to do advanced query…. this is political reconnaissance intended to give corrupt officials and media allies the background to: (a) scale their risk; and (b) plan their defense narrative. They are nervous now. Very nervous.
Here’s the important transcript, (all emphasis mine):
Senator Shaheen: News just broke, today, that you have a special team looking into why the FBI opened an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. I wonder if you can share with this committee: who is on that team; why you felt the need to form that kind of a team; and what you intend to be the scope of their investigation?
AG William Barr: Yeah, I, uh, as I said in my confirmation hearing, I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016. And, uh, alot of this has already been investigated, and a substantial portion of this has been investigated, and is being investigated, by the office of the inspector general at the department. But one of the things I want to do is pull together all the information from the investigations that have gone on, including on the Hill and the department, and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed.
Shaheen: Can you share with us why you feel the need to do that?
Barr: Well, for the same reason we are worried about foreign influence in elections we want to make sure that, uh, during an election, I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It’s a big deal.
The generation I grew up in, which is the 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 ensure there was an adequate basis for, before our law enforcement agencies get involved in political surveillance. I’m not suggesting that those rules were violated, but I think it’s important to look at that; and I’m not just talking about the FBI necessarily, but the intelligence agencies more broadly.
Shaheen: So your not, your not suggesting though that spying occurred?
Barr: I don’t, well, I guess you could, I think there’s that spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.
LONG PAUSE OF SILENCE
Shaheen: Wow, let me, uh…
Barr: But the question is: whether it was predicated. Adequately predicated. And I’m not suggested that it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.
I think it’s my obligation, congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened; we have a lot of rules about that.
And, I want to say that I’ve said I’m reviewing this, I am going to, I haven’t set up a team yet but I do have, I have in mind having some colleagues help me pulling this information all together, and let me know if there’s some areas that should be looked at.
And I also want to make clear this is not launching an investigation of the FBI. Frankly, to the extent that there were issues at the FBI, I do not view it as a problem that’s endemic to the FBI. I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there, at the upper echelon; and so I don’t like to hear attacks about the FBI, because I think the FBI is an outstanding organization, and I think that Chris Wray is a great partner for me and I’m very pleased that he’s there as the director.
And if it becomes necessary to look over some former official activities, I expect that I’ll be relying heavily on Chris, and work closely with him in looking at that information. But, that’s what I’m doing, I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused; I think that’s one of the principle roles of the attorney general.