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Barr hesitates when asked if campaigns need to report foreign governments offering 'dirt' on competitors

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMajority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report MORE did not immediately answer Wednesday when asked a pointed question on whether campaigns should report directly to the FBI when foreign governments offer “dirt” on competitors.

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr was asked by Sen. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers Democrats worry Senate will be graveyard for Biden agenda Khashoggi fiancée: Not punishing Saudi crown prince would be 'stain on our humanity' MORE (D-Del.) if he believes a campaign contacted by a foreign adversary, using North Korea as a hypothetical example, should contact the FBI.

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Barr paused for more than five seconds before Coons clarified his question, to which Barr agreed and said “yes.”

“If a foreign intelligence service does, yes,” Barr said.

Members of President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE's 2016 campaign have faced ongoing criticism for meeting with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin whom they'd been told could offer dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Clinton praises Dolly Parton's cold shoulder top from vaccination: 'Shall we make this a trend?' Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE.

Barr faced hours of grilling Wednesday from senators about his handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE’s investigation into Moscow's interference in the 2016 election.

Barr has faced multiple complaints from Democrats over his handling of the probe, particularly after a letter from Mueller surfaced expressing his “frustration” over Barr’s summary of the report’s findings.