Democratic senators critical of President Trump recently were stunned into silence when Attorney General William Barr said he believed the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign in 2016.
Now that the report of special counsel Robert Mueller is out concluding there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are calling for an investigation of the origins of the collusion allegations.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement Thursday that Trump “has been fully and completely exonerated yet again.”
“Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever,” Parscale said.
He said there is “simply no denying that ‘spying did occur’ on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, as Attorney General Barr himself noted in testimony before Congress.”
“Barr went on to testify that there was a ‘failure among a group of leaders there at the upper echelon [of the FBI]… [and] I feel I have an obligation to make sure that government power is not abused.’ Now that the collusion and obstruction conspiracy theories have been exposed for the pathetic hoaxes they always were, the Obama-era DOJ and FBI must answer for their misdeeds and the scam that they perpetrated against the American people. Justice will be served.”
Pence said that Thursday’s release of the special counsel’s report “confirms what the president and I have said since day one: There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and there was no obstruction of justice.”
“After two years of investigation, conducted with the full cooperation of this administration, that involved hundreds of witness interviews and millions of pages of documents, the American people can see for themselves: no collusion, no obstruction,” he said. “Now that the special counsel investigation is completed, the American people have a right to know whether the initial investigation was in keeping with long-standing Justice Department standards – or even lawful at all. We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda.
Pence said that while many Democrats “will cling to discredited allegations, the American people can be confident President Trump and I will continue to focus where we always have, on advancing an agenda that’s making our nation stronger, safer, and more secure.”
A statement from the president’s campaign said: “After issuing 2,800 subpoenas and 500 search warrants, interviewing 500 witnesses, employing 40 FBI agents and 19 lawyers, and spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again.”
The statement said: “Democrats took us on a frantic, chaotic, conspiracy-laden roller coaster for two years, alleging wrongdoing where there was none. But the verdict stands: no collusion, no obstruction, no wrongdoing, no crimes, and an innocent president who has continued his relentless work for the American people.
“Now the tables have turned, and it’s time to investigate the liars who instigated this sham investigation into President Trump, motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever.”
Barr told senators in a hearing last week, “I think spying did occur.”
.@SenatorShaheen asks Barr about reports he’s launched an investigation into officials who investigated Trump
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” he says, echoing baseless right-win conspiracy theories. “I think spying did occur.”
Shaheen is left speechless pic.twitter.com/G1fcAF2Irh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 10, 2019
“This is something that I was confident was gonna happen when Barr was confirmed,” said talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on Thursday. “He knows there was spying. He knows who the spies were. He knows who the informants were who were planted in the Trump campaign.
“We finally got the guy who’s gonna dig into this. … This guy cares about the judicial system. … He understands exactly what happened here, as we all do.”
“They’re quaking in their boots in the homes of [James] Comey and [Andrew] McCabe and [John] Brennan.
“Any investigation that is worth its weight in salt is going to reveal media complicity,” Limbaugh added.
The Russia probe started by the FBI and DOJ turned into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s campaign, and he concluded there was no collusion.
What is already known is that the Mueller probe was sparked by Democratic operatives in the former administration. Justice Department and FBI officials took an opposition research document funded partly by Hillary Clinton and used its “salacious” and “unverified” claims as court evidence to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
It was the Obama administration simply weaponizing the government against a political opponent, critics charged.
Limbaugh warned: “If these people aren’t careful, they’re gonna get exactly what they don’t want. They’re gonna get a full-fledged investigation into how this happened, who was behind it, who all knew about it.”
At the hearing April 10, Barr was asked why the review of the investigation was being done.
“For the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections,” he explained.
“We want to make sure that during … I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, a big deal. The generation I grew up in which was the Vietnam war period people were all concerned about spying on antiwar people and so forth by the government. There were a lot of rules put in place to make sure there’s an adequate basis before our law enforcement agencies get involve 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 intelligence agencies more broadly.”
He was pressed, “You’re not suggesting though, that spying occurred?”
Barr said: “I don’t … well … I guess you could … I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.”
The Senate chamber went totally silent.