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

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrSunday shows - Spotlight shines on Bloomberg, stop and frisk GOP senator on Trump's Roger Stone tweet: 'Just because you can sing ... doesn't mean you should sing' Short defends Trump's tweets as a 'very effective way' to communicate with Americans 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 CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDemocrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump McConnell displays mastery of Senate with impeachment victory Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle 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 John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record 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 ClintonThe 'Palmetto Promise': South Carolina will decide the race Alabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Worries grow as moderates split Democratic vote MORE.

Barr faced hours of grilling Wednesday from senators about his handling of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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.