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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE, claiming that he had confirmed the existence of "unlawful" spying on President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

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 ComeyNadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime We've lost sight of the real scandal Former Obama officials willing to testify on McCabe's behalf: report MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperTrump lashes out at former intel officials for criticism of Iran tweet Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Conservatives lash out at CNN for hiring Andrew McCabe 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.