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Trump orders intel agencies to assist Barr with review of Russia probe

Posted: 9:11 PM, May 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-24 01:11:15Z
Trump orders intel agencies to assist Barr with review of Russia probe

President Donald Trump ordered all intelligence agencies late Thursday evening to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, delegating significant authority to Barr to declassify intelligence documents as the attorney general sees fit.

According to a memo released by the White House, the "heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review."

As CNN has previously reported, Barr is working closely with the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the origins of the Russia investigation -- an effort the President had long demanded.

At a hearing last month, Barr said, "I think spying did occur" on the Trump campaign, but declined to elaborate on his concerns.

US officials say that while many interpreted Barr's comments to be directed at the FBI, the core of his concern is the activities of other intelligence agencies at the start of the Russia probe.