‘Unprecedented’: Experts Stunned as Trump Hands AG Barr Broad Power to Declassify 2016 Election Surveillance Intel

Intelligence and law enforcement experts are stunned after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has just handed his Attorney General strong powers to declassify intelligence on "surveillance activities" undertaken during the 2016 presidential election. That would include actions taken by the FBI, CIA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Trump's order giving Barr carte blanche came just hours after he literally called prosecutors who worked on the Mueller investigation "killers," and accused FBI, DOJ, and possibly President Barack Obama of "treason" immediately after a reporter reminded him that the punishment for that crime is the death penalty.

Trump is insisting, as he has done for over two years, that President Barack Obama had then-candidate Trump's "wires tapped," an accusation the Dept. of Justice actually investigated and reported it could find no evidence to support President Trump's claim.

Trump expanded that claim to say that the FBI spied on his campaign, despite having no evidence. Attorney General Bill Barr during an open and live-televised congressional hearing told lawmakers, “I think spying did occur.”

The deliberate use of the word "spying" rankled the intel community and many lawmakers.

This via Maddow tonight:

Here's how some experts are responding to the President's order and accusations.

Former U.S. Attorney, now a law professor and MSNBC contributor:

Former Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at Justice Dept.:

Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics:

Former CIA officer and former National Security Council spokesperson, currently an NBC News contributor:

Former Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, and a current MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst:

Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and academic specialist on international affairs:

New York Times editorial board writer on law and justice issues (and yes, he is being sarcastic):


Vox co-founder and editor:


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