Trump campaign falsely claims Barr revealed 'unlawful spying' in email to supporters

The Trump campaign on Friday sent a fundraising email and several text messages to supporters misquoting Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too MORE, claiming that he had confirmed the existence of "unlawful" spying on President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE's campaign during the 2016 election.

In the email sent Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign claimed falsely that "Attorney General William Barr said what the president has thought all along: He believes "unlawful spying did occur" against Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign."

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While Barr did state that "spying did occur" targeting the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, at no point did he conclude that the actions were unlawful, while specifically saying that he could not make such a conclusion.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr said this week during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “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.”

"I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it. That's all," he added.

Text messages sent to campaign supporters first reported by ABC News also falsely claimed that Barr concluded that surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 was done "illegally."

Former intelligence officials swiftly rebuked Barr's remarks this week, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBiden sister has book deal, set to publish in April Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperDomestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack MORE.

"I have no idea what he's talking about so it's hard for me to comment," Comey said at a Hewlett-Packard conference.

"I thought it was both stunning and scary," Clapper added during an interview with CNN on Wednesday. "I was amazed at that and rather disappointed that the attorney general would say such a thing."

"The term 'spying' has all kinds of negative connotations, and I have to believe he chose that term deliberately," Clapper continued.