A recent national poll has found that nearly 4 out of 10 American voters believe President Donald Trump’s campaign was spied on during the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Politico and Morning Consult’s National Tracking Poll (pdf), 38 percent of the survey participants said they believe Trump was spied on, while 28 percent said his campaign was not. Meanwhile, 35 percent of the participants said they do not know or had no opinion.
The survey, which polled 1998 registered voters between April 12 and 14, found that the responses about spying were also divided by partisan line (pdf) with 57 percent of Republicans saying spying had occurred, while 24 percent of Democrats saying the same.
Allegations that the spying had occurred resurfaced last week when Attorney General William Barr testified to Congress that he believes that spying did occur and that he was obligated to make sure that the Obama government’s surveillance was legally justified.
“The question is whether it was predicated.”
“I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur,” Barr said, followed by a moment of silence in the room.
“The question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated,” he continued. “And I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that. I think it’s my obligation.”
Later in the hearing, Barr said, “I believe there is a basis for my concern, but I’m not going to discuss the basis.”
Barr’s comments last week seemed to have confirmed Trump’s allegations.
Trump has long accused Obama administration officials of spying on his 2016 election campaign. The officials involved have denied this characterization, saying that the counterintelligence probe, officially launched by the FBI on July 31, 2016, was only aimed at four Americans who were connected to the campaign.
In that investigation, FBI officials obtained a spy warrant to monitor former Trump-campaign associate Carter Page. The underlying document the bureau used to obtain the warrant was the Steele dossier, which is a collection of unsubstantiated opposition research claiming Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. The dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
These allegations of illegal surveillance are among a broader set of allegations that have collectively come to be known as Spygate.
Barr said at the April 10 hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee that he intends to form a team to investigate potential surveillance abuses against the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department said earlier this week that it plans to release a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on April 18. The nearly nearly 400-page-long report contains findings on the probe of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Barr previously said the special counsel had no evidence of collusion.
The connection between the Mueller investigation and the allegations of spying is the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign, which predated the special counsel’s investigation.
Epoch Times Reporter Petr Svab and Ivan Penchoukov contributed to this report.