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

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld (R) argued Wednesday that it wasn't "spying" when the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016, breaking with Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Justin Amash confirms collusion witch hunt was all about politics 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 TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE, said during an interview on CNN's "New Day."

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"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."