On Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said that the investigation into Trump’s campaign officials in 2016 was not “spying,” contradicting the claims of President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr, The Washington Post reports.
“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray said responding to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in a congressional hearing regarding his department’s budget.
Wray, who took leadership of the FBI two years ago, pressed lawmakers to wait for Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, which is expected to come within the next two months, on the FBI probe into the Trump campaign’s origins and the investigative methods used during the probe.
On April 10, however, Attorney General Barr told the Senate that “spying did occur, yes,” and that it was “a big deal.” Barr called for an investigation into whether any Justice Department regulations were broken during the investigation.
“Frankly, to the extent that there were any issues at the FBI, I do not view it as a problem that’s endemic to the FBI. I think there was probably a failure among a group of leaders there in the upper echelon,” he said.
Republicans in support of Trump have argued that former leaders of the FBI used weak or false claims to obtain surveillance orders on a former adviser to Trump, Carter Page, in 2016 and 2017. They have also claimed that high-ranking members of the FBI are biased against the president.