Bill Barr sits in agonizing silence when asked if campaigns should tell FBI if a foreign adversary offers them dirt
Bill Barr

Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday sat in agonizing silence for several seconds when he was asked if presidential campaigns should contact the FBI if foreign governments offer them dirt on their political opponents.

During an exchange with Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Barr was asked if campaigns should tell the FBI if a foreign adversary such as North Korea approaches them and offers them damaging information about their political opponents.

Barr sat in silence for a full six seconds before Coons began asking his question again.

"If a foreign intelligence service..." Coons began.

"A foreign intelligence service?" Barr asked. "If a foreign intelligence service does, yes."

Of course, Coons didn't originally ask about a foreign intelligence service -- he asked more generally about representatives from adversarial governments.

In 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort infamously took a meeting with Russian operatives who promised them dirt on Democrat Hillary Clinton.

President Donald Trump has defended his associates' actions by saying any campaign would take such a meeting with operatives from a rival foreign power.

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