MSNBC White House correspondent Geoff Bennett on Thursday was visibly stunned by Attorney General Bill Barr's announcement the day before that he was going to investigate the Mueller investigation for potential "spying" on then-candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
"I think the most charitable interpretation of the attorney general's deliberate word choice --his choice of the word 'spying'-- comes from people close to him, who are telling [NBC national security reporter] Julia Ainsley and me that William Barr doesn't see much of a semantic difference between the terms 'spying' and 'surveillance'," said Bennett.
"In fact he's not invested that much in the actual surveillance so much as he is trying to make sure the FBI followed the proper procedures in launching the probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government," Bennett went on. "But here's the deal -- Congress has already looked into this question several times."
"It might seem like ancient history now, but last year the then-congressional leaders, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, Richard Burr, who still is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and Trey Gowdy, the former Republican head of the House Oversight Committee, he of the Benghazi hearings who no one can accuse of being anything less than a partisan, left the briefing, based on the findings of that congressional investigation and said they found no improprieties," Bennett continued.
"They said the FBI did nothing wrong," he added. "That's why you have Democrats who are really concerned, they're wondering what the attorney general is up to by echoing the president's talking points on this when they say there is no evidence for it."
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