Barr: FBI approached to create group to 'make sure we're totally prepared for the upcoming elections'

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP rep predicts watchdog report on alleged FISA abuses will find 'problems' Barr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse MORE in an interview that aired Friday morning said he has approached the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, about forming a group of officials to deal with election security issues for the 2020 elections and beyond.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning," Barr said that the U.S. efforts to counter attempts from Russia and other governments to interfere in U.S. affairs was becoming "increasingly robust."


"Yes, we do have, I think, an increasingly robust program that is focusing on foreign influence in our election process," Barr told CBS.

"I talked recently to the director of the FBI about putting together a special high-level group to make sure we're totally prepared for the upcoming elections," he added.

During this interview, he also addressed concerns from Democrats about his use of the word "spying" to describe early surveillance efforts against members of the Trump campaign related to the now-shuttered investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian election interference.

Democrats have hammered Barr for his use of the term during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing earlier this year, when Barr said that he believed "spying" did occur targeting the Trump campaign while adding that he did not take a position on its legality. Questions about its legality, he added in the interview airing Friday, remain.

"You know, it is part of the craziness of the modern day that if a president uses a word then all of a sudden it becomes off bounds. It is a perfectly good English word, I will continue to use it," Barr said.

"Like many other people who are familiar with intelligence activities, I had a lot of questions about what was going on," he continued. "I assumed I'd get answers when I went in, and I have not gotten answers that are, well, satisfactory."

Barr has ordered a team of prosecutors to examine the early stages of the Russia investigation and has vowed to determine whether conduct by the FBI and Justice Department surrounding the investigation crossed into unethical territory.

His first sit-down interview comes just days after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE resigned from his position at a press conference, declaring the investigation over while adding that he could not exonerate the president of wrongdoing.