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Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized Attorney General William Barr on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° for raising concerns about federal surveillance during President Trump’s 2016 campaign with the Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday.

Details: Clapper told host Anderson Cooper it was "stunning and scary" that Barr told a public hearing this. Barr should've sought a briefing from the Justice Department's inspector general on the investigation into whether the FBI mishandled warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Clapper said.

The backdrop: Barr said during his exchange with the subcommittee he thought "spying did occur" and he needed to explore whether that was adequately predicated, though stressed he wasn't saying this occurred. He said had no evidence he could "cite right now" of wrongdoing by the FBI or Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation. He said he would review "the genesis and conduct" of the probe.

What he's saying: "It would have been far more appropriate for him to just defer to that investigation rather than postulating with apparently no evidence. He just has a feeling that there was spying against the campaign," Clapper told Cooper.

Go deeper: Gang of 8 Democrats condemn Barr for suggesting Trump campaign was spied on

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.