"His testimony raises profound concern that the attorney general is doing what we urge emerging democracies not to do, and that is, seek to prosecute your political opponents after you win an election", Schiff continued, in an apparent reference to Barr's vow to examine the beginnings of the investigation, precisely as Trump has long demanded.
What did he say at the hearing?
The attorney general plans to review the "genesis and the conduct" of the FBI's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation. Chris Van Hollen asked Barr whether he agreed with Mueller's assessment that there were "difficult issues" of law and fact concerning whether obstruction happened.
"For the same reason we're anxious about foreign influence in elections". It's a big deal.
"I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016", he said. Jerry Moran of Kansas asked Barr about his basis for saying spying occurred. The top law enforcement official also said it is his "obligation" to ensure "intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane" and insisted that "spying on a political campaign is a big deal".
Other methods of spying on the Trump campaign involved the use of national security letters, which allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to subpoena customer records from banks, phone companies, internet service providers, and others, and the so-called practice of unmasking, which involved the un-redacting of the identities of members of the Trump campaign in intelligence reports. "But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn't adequately predicated. But I need to explore that", he said.
"It was an illegal investigation, it was started illegally...everything about it was crooked, every single thing about it", he stated.More news: Hole-in-one helps Kim retain Valero Texas Open lead
But what does this mean?
"It's unclear to me what Barr was referring to", Schiff said.
Taken all together, at a minimum, Barr generally ratified a view of the Russian Federation investigation that will make Trump very pleased with his new Attorney General.
"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016", Representative Jim Jordan of OH, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Tuesday of Barr's interest in the issue.
Barr told lawmakers at a congressional hearing Tuesday that he was reviewing "conduct" from around that period.
At the tail end of Wednesday's hearing, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, asked if he wished to rephrase his statement. "I'm sure it was very gratifying to Donald Trump". "I am saying I am concerned about it, and I am looking into it", he said.