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 BarrDemocrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question The Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations EXCLUSIVE: Trump declines to say he has confidence in FBI director MORE, claiming that he had confirmed the existence of "unlawful" spying on President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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 is the least electable candidate — here's why Top Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann lands book deal Trump to appear on 'Meet the Press' for first time as president MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperGeraldo Rivera: Comey, Clapper, Brennan should be 'quaking' in their boots over Barr investigation Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats Comey: 'The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates' 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.