MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace wondered on Tuesday whether Attorney General William Barr accusing the FBI of spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election was the case of the attorney general regularly watching President Trump’s favorite nighttime cable news program.
During Tuesday’s Deadline: White House, Wallace noted that while Barr has appointed a federal prosecutor to open another investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that he would not use the term “spying” to describe investigators following FBI investigative policies and procedures.
“Who uses the word spying to discuss authorized lawful surveillance on a counter-intelligence probe, other than Sean Hannity?” Wallace asked former CIA Director John Brennan, who has been repeatedly accused by the Fox News host of being part of an anti-Trump “Deep State” cabal to undermine Trump.
“Well, William Barr, clearly, and I think Donald Trump as well,” he responded. “I think they are trying to imply and to really indicate there was misuse of authorities. That was not the case. Does CIA spy? Yes. Adversaries? Yes. Do we spy against domestic individuals? No, we do not.”
Brennan added: “We work very closely with the FBI. When the Russians were trying to interfere in that election and change the outcome of it in their favor, we, CIA and FBI, worked very collaboratively so we could have the ability to see what the Russians were doing and who they were working with.”
He went on to say that when Barr said spying, he was obviously indicating “there was something inappropriate if not illegal” and that nobody uses that term when referring to a “legitimate predicated authorized investigative action on the part of the FBI.”
“Why do you think he uses it?” Wallace asked. “Is it taunting? Does it signal to the intelligence community that he’s coming for you? Does it signal he’s watched too much Sean Hannity? What does that word mean inside the intelligence community?”
The ex-CIA chief said he believed Barr was playing to Trump, adding that it was clear during the attorney general’s recent Senate testimony that he was staying very consistent with the president’s views. He went on to defend the way the FBI pursued the Russia investigation while claiming Trump’s allies are just trying to “uncover something they will misrepresent as being part of this deep state effort to try to undermine Donald Trump’s election.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.