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

Trump primary challenger: 'It's not spying' to investigate Trump campaign
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Former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldVermont governor, running for reelection, won't campaign or raise money The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE (R) argued Wednesday that it wasn't "spying" when the FBI investigated the Trump campaign in 2016, breaking with Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results Rep. Raúl Grijalva tests positive for COVID-19 'Unmasking' Steele dossier source: Was confidentiality ever part of the deal? 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 TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled 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."