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As Democrats spent the past two years pushing the Russian collusion narrative, some Republicans have pushed back with a counter-narrative of their own: “Spygate,” which asserts that corrupt FBI and Justice Department officials in the Obama administration spied on the 2016 presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Democrats and their media allies have denounced the Spygate narrative, but Congressional testimony delivered by Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday — in conjunction with Congressional testimony offered by a former FBI attorney in 2018 — would suggest that the Spygate narrative is true.
The Daily Caller reported that Barr — during an exchange with Senate Appropriations Committee member Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen — told the senator, “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
“You’re not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?” Shaheen asked. After a moment of careful thought, Barr replied, “I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.”
“But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated,” he said. “I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”
Later in the hearing, asked to explain what led him to suspect spying had occurred, Barr replied, “I believe there is a basis for my concern, but I’m not going to discuss it.”
Barr revealed that he would be “reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of the intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016,” though he noted that his focus would be on the former “group of leaders there at the upper echelon,” and not the FBI in its entirety.
Of course, the left exploded with rage at the suggestion from Barr that Obama’s FBI and DOJ had spied on the Trump campaign, and many accused him of putting forward damning accusations with no supporting evidence. That’s a rather hypocritical assertion, given how the left pushed the Russian collusion theory for more than two years without any supporting evidence.
Unfortunately for the left, Barr’s assertion that the Obama administration spied on Trump’s campaign was ostensibly supported by a member of that “upper echelon” in Obama’s FBI, former General Counsel James Baker.
Baker testified twice behind closed doors, yet in an unclassified setting, with the then-Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee in October 2018. Transcripts of that testimony were recently made public by Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins.
On page 107 of the transcript of the second day of Baker’s testimony, he was asked directly by Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows if there had been multiple applications for surveillance warrants with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to alleged Russian collusion.
Baker’s FBI attorneys interrupted and refused to let Baker reply. They told Meadows that answering the question might reveal “quite sensitive and almost always classified” investigative techniques that could undermine or impede ongoing investigations — essentially the tired “sources and methods” excuse used to avoid revealing too much information.
Meadows drilled down and referenced multiple “unclassified” text messages between fired deputy director Andrew McCabe and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. Those texts suggested there had been multiple FISA warrants aimed at the Trump campaign, potentially as many as 17 separate FISA warrant applications.
When Baker’s lawyers still refused to allow an answer, Meadows cited a specific text between McCabe and Page on Oct. 19, 2016, in which Page informed McCabe that “There will be nine packages for you to sign, with the possibility of eight additional if the NSLB signs off on them.”
She added, “The FISA team will be delivering them at 7.”
Meadows rightly noted that the text indicated multiple FISA warrant applications and asked if anyone else on Trump’s campaign team — aside from adviser Carter Page — had been the subject of those applications. Despite repeatedly asking and reframing the question, Baker and his attorneys refused to provide an answer, though the FBI attorneys did promise to check into and get back to committee members with an answer in a classified setting.
If there were no spying on the Trump campaign by the Obama administration, then the questions from Meadows would have been quite simple for Baker to answer. The fact that he and his FBI handlers refused to answer the direct question would strongly indicate that Barr was correct in his Wednesday testimony — and cries to the contrary from Democrats and the media notwithstanding, there is evidence that Obama’s FBI spied on candidate Trump’s campaign in 2016.