Pavlich: It was always spying

On April 10, 2019, former Attorney General Bill Barr testified in front of a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee at the height of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. At the center of Mueller’s probe were accusations, first made by the Clinton campaign, of Russian collusion. 

During a back-and-forth with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) Barr used the term “spying” to describe tactics used by the intelligence community and the FBI to surveil Trump campaign officials. He explained why the Department of Justice was taking a closer look at the practice. 

“For the same reason we’re worried about foreign influence in elections we want to make sure that during elections, I think spying on a political campaign, is a big deal. It’s a big deal,” Barr testified. “Spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated. I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane and I want to make sure that happened. We have a lot of rules about that.”

As senators attempted to process the statement, with many in disbelief, it was as if the air had been sucked out of the room. Barr’s remarks set off a firestorm of controversy among Democrats and their allies in the media. Television network hosts quickly assembled former Obama administration officials and political pundits to condemn Barr’s use of the term. 

“I was very disappointed in what Attorney General Barr said today about spying when he was referring to the investigation that was predicated,” former Obama CIA Director John Brennan said during an interview with MSNBC. “For the Attorney General to imply or to say there was spying domestically, he knows the language very well. He knows the terminology.” 

Barr was referring to the improper and abusive use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillence Act (FISA) process against the Trump campaign. On Jan. 23, 2020, and after strong condemnation from the FISA court itself, the Department of Justice determined two warrants used by the FBI for spying against Trump official Carter Page were not properly predicated and should have never been issued. 

Over the weekend special counsel John Durham, who was appointed by Barr, confirmed additional spying, which extended to President Trump’s time in the White House. 

“Lawyers for the Clinton campaign paid a technology company to ‘infiltrate’ servers belonging to Trump Tower, and later the White House, in order to establish an ‘inference’ and ‘narrative’ to bring to government agencies linking Donald Trump to Russia, a filing from Special Counsel John Durham found,” Fox News reported exclusively. “Durham filed a motion on Feb. 11 focused on potential conflicts of interest related to the representation of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who has been charged with making a false statement to a federal agent. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.”

In other words, the Clinton campaign paid to create a false Russia narrative after President Trump was duly elected by the voters. They continued the narrative for years, forcing the launch of Mueller’s probe for the first two years of Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office. 

Republican investigators who sounded the alarm for years about improper behavior and collusion between the Clinton campaign and U.S. intelligence agencies were also proven correct.

“Special Counsel Durham’s latest pleading involving indicted Clinton Campaign lawyer Michael Sussman definitively shows that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly funded and ordered its lawyers at Perkins Coie to orchestrate a criminal enterprise to fabricate a connection between President Trump and Russia. Durham states that Sussman and Mark Elias (Perkins Coie) hired the internet executive, Rodney Joffe and his team to establish an ‘inference and narrative’ tying President Trump to Russia,” former Chief Investigator on the House Intelligence Committee Committee Kash Patel released in response to the filing. “Durham writes he has evidence showing Joffe and his tech company obtained a ‘sensitive arrangement’ where they were able to infiltrate White House servers. Per Durham, this arrangement was put in motion in July of 2016, meaning the Hillary Clinton Campaign and her lawyers masterminded the most intricate and coordinated conspiracy against Trump when he was both a candidate and later President of the United States while simultaneously perpetuating the bogus Steele Dossier hoax.” 

“Per the pleading, the government will also show that Joffe, at the direction of Sussman/Elias and the Clinton Campaign, exploited proprietary data, to hack Trump Tower and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) to establish a false narrative, which Sussman later relayed to U.S. agencies in the hopes of having them launch investigations of President Trump,” Patel continued. 

As President Trump often said, he was spied on and the Clinton campaign was guilty of the act. The question now is, who will be held accountable for this egregious assault on democracy?

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.

Tags Donald Trump FISA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Hillary Clinton Jeanne Shaheen John Brennan John Durham Robert Mueller Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections spying Steele dossier

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