Trump primary challenger: 'It's not spying' to investigate Trump campaign

Trump primary challenger: 'It's not spying' to investigate Trump campaign
© Getty Images

Former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' Trump primary challenger Bill Weld responds to rally chants: 'We are in a fight for the soul of the GOP' Poll: Trump trails Biden and Sanders, beats Buttigieg, Harris, and Warren MORE (R) argued Wednesday that it wasn't "spying" when the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016, breaking with Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDemocratic lawmaker calls asylum, refugee programs 'crown jewel' of immigration system Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony Cummings asks prosecutors about decision not to charge Trump in hush money probe MORE.

"The thing a couple weeks ago where [Barr] said if the FBI opens an investigation on a Trump organization, that’s 'spying.' That’s not spying," Weld, who has launched a 2020 primary challenge against President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE, said during an interview on CNN's "New Day."

ADVERTISEMENT

"When an agency opens an investigation, it may be a lot of things, it may be bad news for the target. But it’s not spying. It’s just opening an investigation," he added.

Barr said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing last week that he believed the Trump campaign was spied on in 2016 and added that he needed to "explore" the issue.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr said. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

He later attempted to clarify his statement before lawmakers, saying he was concerned “improper surveillance” may have occurred in 2016 and he was "looking into it."

Trump has long called for a probe into the origins of the investigation of his 2016 campaign and has since seized on Barr's remarks, which Democrats have called for the attorney general to walk back.

"There was absolutely spying into my campaign," Trump told reporters last week. "I’ll go a step further. In my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again."