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May 21, 2018

Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo doubled down on a claim that former President Obama "masterminded" a plot to unearth disparaging information on President Trump, voicing a theory that government agencies were politically weaponized during a Monday segment on the network.

"President Obama, basically it appears to me, politicized all of his agencies: the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS, the CIA — they were all involved in trying to take down Donald Trump," said Bartiromo.

Bartiromo previously alleged that Obama or Hillary Clinton had been "masterminding" FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign, which drew criticism for promoting a conspiracy theory. When Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News judicial analyst, said that any FBI surveillance would constitute "extraordinary political use of intelligence and law enforcement by the Obama administration," Bartiromo escalated the claim, roping in multiple government agencies. Watch the full discussion below, via Fox Business Network. Summer Meza

January 23, 2018
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Before the Senate passed a three-week stopgap measure to fund the government on Monday, the Republican chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee unsuccessfully tried to remove a measure inserted by House appropriators at the request of the White House. "The language is troublesome for the committee because it would authorize the intelligence community to spend funds notwithstanding the law that requires prior authorization," Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman, said on the Senate floor. "Effectively, the intelligence community could expend funds as it sees fit."

"If this exemption is granted, you could potentially have an administration — any administration — go off and take on covert activities, for example, with no ability for our committee, which spends the time and has oversight, to say 'time out,'" warned Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat. "We just want to make sure that we don't give a blank check to any administration, particularly this administration. We need to get it fixed."

Burr proposed an amendment that would replace the provision in question — which says funds may be spent "notwithstanding" Section 504 of a 1947 law that prevents intelligence agencies from spending money without congressional authorization — with one that requires such authorization. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, objected, scuttling the amendment. Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the language was narrowly tailored to a Pentagon budget request and isn't a blank check for intelligence activities. Burr said he and Warner will work to quash the measure in the next spending bill, by Feb. 8.

President Trump signed the stopgap funding package Monday night, reopening the federal government. Peter Weber