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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 BarrActing attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report Trump condemns riots, says he will focus on transition in taped remarks MORE, claiming that he had confirmed the existence of "unlawful" spying on President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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 ComeyComey: Biden should consider pardoning Trump Comey: 'Greatest punishment' for Trump after Capitol riot is to 'move past' his presidency Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community The new marshmallow media in the Biden era 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.