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Top Democrats send letter to Barr questioning his independence

Top Democrats in both the Senate and House sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday reiterating their demands for him to release the full, unredacted Mueller report to Congress — while also condemning him for comments he made on Wednesday suggesting that intelligence officials "spied" on the Trump campaign in 2016.

"[W]e would be remiss not to express profound concern about your comments before the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding your apparent view of the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Your testimony raises questions about your independence, appears to perpetuate a partisan narrative designed to undermine the work of the Special Counsel, and serves to legitimize President Trump's dangerous attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI."

The backdrop: Attorney General Bill Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that he believes spying by law enforcement officials on the 2016 Trump campaign "did occur," before clarifying at the end of the hearing: "I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I am saying that I am concerned about it and I’m looking into it."

  • Defenders of President Trump have long accused Obama-era intelligence officials of spying on the Trump campaign for political reasons, alleging that intelligence tools, like the FISA process, were abused. These claims have not been corroborated.