FBI Director Chris Wray claimed on Tuesday that despite allegations to the contrary, he does not believe that the Trump presidential campaign was spied on by the government in 2016.
Both President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have publicly stated that they believe the presidential campaign may have been illegally spied on by the federal government.
A recent report from The New York Times even alleged that the FBI used an undercover female operative to pose as a research assistant and question ex-Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on ties between Trump and Russia.
Papadopoulos described the woman’s questions as “creepy” in his book “Deep State Target,” which covers the Russia probe from his perspective.
“She wants to know: Are we working with Russia?” he wrote. Papadopoulos told the woman he had nothing to do with Russia.
The FBI also reportedly got a secret surveillance warrant in 2016 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
At a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Wray was asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) whether or not the FBI is “spying” when it investigates suspected terrorists and criminals.
“I was very concerned by his use of the word spying, which I think is a loaded word,” Shaheen said. “When FBI agents conduct investigations against alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you believe they’re engaging in spying when they’re following FBI investigative policies and procedures?”
“Well, that’s not the term I would use,” said Wray.
He continued, “I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes. And to me, the key question is making sure that it’s done by the book, consistent with our lawful authorities. That’s the key question. Different people use different colloquial phrases.”
Wray refused to specifically talk about the investigation into the Trump campaign due to a Justice Department inspector probe into the origins of the Russia investigation. Attorney General Barr has said that report will be ready either this month or in June.
Asked whether he personally knew if the Trump campaign was spied on, Wray replied, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”
On the Justice Department probe, Wray commented, “The attorney general is seeking to understand better the circumstances at the department and the FBI relating to how this investigation started, and we’re working to help him get that understanding. I think that’s part of his job and part of mine.”
While no one seems to be giving concrete answers one way or another on the Trump campaign being spied on, one thing is for sure: this ongoing Justice Department probe will no doubt dig up far more explosive revelations than the nothing-burger that was the Mueller investigation.
While the Mueller report cleared Trump of any collusion with Russia, the Justice Department probe could very well show that political biases were running rampant in the federal government and allowed people in power to collude to prevent Trump from getting into office. Only time will tell now, but the truth is definitely on the way.
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