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FBI director Christopher Wray said he would not describe FBI investigations as "spying" on Tuesday, responding to a question about Attorney General Bill Barr's assertion that law enforcement officials "spied" on the 2016 Trump campaign.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: "When FBI agents conduct investigations against alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you believe that they're engaging in spying, when they're following FBI investigative policies and procedures?"
Wray: "Well that's not the term I would use."
Shaheen: "So I would say that's a no to that question?"
Wray: "Well, I mean, lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of differing shapes and sizes. And to me the key question is making sure that it's done by the book, consistent with our lawful authorities."

Why it matters: Barr's claim that "spying" by law enforcement officials on the 2016 Trump campaign "did occur" during a Senate testimony last month caused significant backlash from Democrats who believed he was purposely using a term with explosive connotations. Barr added that he did not mean "improper surveillance" necessarily occurred, but that he is looking into it.

  • During his testimony this month, Barr doubled down, telling Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: "I'm not going to back off the word spying except I will say I'm not suggesting any pejorative and I use it frequently, as do media."
  • When Sen. Whitehouse responded that the term is "not commonly used by the department," Barr replied: "Well, it's commonly used by me."

Wray said he didn't think he "personally" had any evidence that illegal surveillance of any campaign occurred. The inspector general is currently conducting an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Go deeper

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.