no regrets
May 31, 2019

Attorney General William Barr is again defending his decision to testify that "spying did occur" on President Trump's 2016 campaign.

Barr, who came under fire for his use of the word "spying" during his congressional testimony, in an interview with CBS This Morning that aired Friday said of the word "spying," "I guess it has become a dirty word somehow" but "it hasn't ever been for me."

"I think there is nothing wrong with spying," Barr said. "The question is always whether it is authorized by law."

The attorney general also rejected the idea that his comment was an example of him purposely adhering to Trump's narrative that his campaign was improperly spied on, even as FBI Director Christopher Wray says he has seen no evidence that unauthorized surveillance of the Trump campaign occurred.

"You know, it is part of the craziness of the modern day that if a president uses a word, then all of a sudden it becomes off bounds," Barr said. "It is a perfectly good English word. I will continue to use it."

Among those who criticized Barr for his use of the word spying was former FBI Director James Comey, who said he has "no idea" what Barr is talking about because "the FBI doesn't spy. The FBI investigates." Wray also told Congress that spying is "not the term I would use." Brendan Morrow

March 20, 2019

Donna Brazile is defending herself after facing some criticism for going to work for Fox News, saying she thought long and hard about the decision and stands by it.

The former Democratic National Committee chair, who earlier this week was hired as a contributor for the network, spoke with The New Yorker on Wednesday and again said she accepted the job in order to reach those who might disagree with her, arguing that "if you want to help the country, if you want to try to improve democracy, you have to go into places where you are uncomfortable and try to stir things up." Journalist Isaac Chotiner didn't seem to fully buy this explanation, asking if she thinks Fox News itself may have contributed to the very lack of civility in political discourse that she decries.

"Is Fox responsible alone?" Brazile asked. "No ... I don't want to blame it on one entity." She instead criticized "the entire media landscape," especially journalists who reported on emails of hers released by WikiLeaks, later saying, "I knew people were going to call and say, 'Don’t you know the house might stink up?' Yeah, but is that the only house that is stinky?"

The conversation got a bit heated when Brazile said she hopes to "call out" racism, to which Chotiner responded that she'll be "seeing it a lot now" at Fox. "I hope you understand that you are having a conversation with me because I chose to call you back," Brazile said. "I understood that when I made this decision to call you that you probably wanted to get up in my crap about going on Fox." She later told Chotiner not to act "somehow appalled that a black woman, or a woman, or a liberal progressive" would go work for Fox, saying she has "all my marbles" and telling the reporter, "you don't know me." Brendan Morrow

May 3, 2017

If faced again with the choice of whether to alert Congress about the possibility of more relevant Hillary Clinton emails during the late stages of a presidential election, FBI Director James Comey says he'd "make the same decision." At a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his judgment on the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server, Comey said he and his team thought very carefully before alerting Congress about the emails less than two weeks before Election Day. The emails did not end up changing the FBI's conclusion about the investigation.

"It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might've had some impact on the election. But honestly it wouldn't change the decision," Comey said, describing the experience as "one of the world's most painful." Clinton on Tuesday blamed Comey's letter for her loss in the election, saying it "raised doubts" in potential supporters' minds.

Comey explained that when he found out that there may be emails containing classified information from Clinton aide Huma Abedin on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner's laptop, which had been "seized in an unrelated case," he felt like he had no choice but to do something. "I could not see a door labeled 'no action here,'" Comey said. "I could see two doors, and they were both actions: One was labeled 'speak,' the other was labeled 'conceal.'" He argued that not alerting Congress that the FBI was restarting an investigation he'd repeatedly said was over would have been "catastrophic."

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) suggested Comey also could've kept up the FBI "tradition of not announcing investigations." Watch Comey defend his decision below. Becca Stanek

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