| April 14, 2019 10:12 AM
Updated Apr 14, 2019, 10:26 AM
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the notion that the U.S. government spied on President Trump’s campaign is “complete and total nonsense.”
During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Nadler said “spying is a loaded word” and Attorney General William Barr should not have used that term to characterize the investigation of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He said the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted correctly in obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to wiretap onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
“The FBI followed procedure, they got a FISA warrant, they properly did it. In fact, deputy attorney general [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein signed off on one of the renewals of that FISA warrant,” Nadler said. “ … That’s not spying. Spying is a loaded word and the attorney general should not have used that.”
Nadler, who has been critical of Barr in the past, further unloaded on the attorney general, questioning his objectivity and saying that he was acting as a “personal agent” to Trump.
“The attorney general, when he started talking completely without evidence, as he said about ‘spying’ on the Trump campaign — when what he meant was executing judicially ordered warrants — showed his bias and the fact that he’s really acting as a personal agent to the president rather than as the attorney general of the United States on this matter,” Nadler said.
Barr made the remarks during a Senate budget panel hearing on Wednesday when discussing investigation into the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, which was later wrapped into special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month inquiry.
“I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016. I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said.
At a Democratic retreat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Barr went “off the rails.” Nadler demanded a briefing from the Justice Department while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for an immediate retraction.