Barr on Criticism of Using ‘Spying’ to Describe Investigation of Trump: ‘It’s a Perfectly Good English Word’

Barr on Criticism of Using ‘Spying’ to Describe Investigation of Trump: ‘It’s a Perfectly Good English Word’

Attorney General Bill Barr donned his English teacher hat to defend his use of the word “spying” to characterize the FBI counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Barr made the comments during an interview with Jan Crawford on CBS This Morning early Friday. Crawford noted that Barr had been criticized for saying in congressional testimony that he believed there had been spying on the campaign.

“I guess it’s become a dirty word somehow,” Barr responded. “There’s nothing wrong with spying, the question is always whether it’s authorized by law.”

His answer totally ignores the context in which the wider culture, but particularly President Trump, uses the word spying as a “pejorative,” as Crawford then tried to point out by noting Trump uses it in conjunction with calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” Even the current FBI director, Chris Wray, has publicly disagreed with Barr on this issue.

Barr responded that it is part of the modern political climate that if a president uses a word “then it’s off-bounds. It’s a perfectly good English word and I’ll continue to use it.”

Great, thanks for the heads-up, Flannery O’Connor.

Barr went on to say that he went into his position as Attorney General with questions about the actions of intelligence officials in opening and conducting the investigation of the 2016 campaign. He went on to mysteriously say that “some of the facts I’ve learned don’t hang together with the official explanation.” Pressed by Crawford on what he meant by that, he refused to answer.

Cue the conspiracy theorists, for whom this exchange will be catnip.

Watch above, via CBS.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.