Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) proposed legislation that could protect future presidential candidates from receiving the same treatment President Donald Trump experienced from the FBI during his campaign.
According to testimony given Wednesday by Attorney General William Barr, the Trump campaign was being investigated without its knowledge throughout the 2016 campaign.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said, later adding, “I think spying did occur.”
Watch Barr’s testimony:
.@SenatorShaheen asks Barr about reports he's launched an investigation into officials who investigated Trump
"I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal," he says, echoing baseless right-win conspiracy theories. "I think spying did occur."
Shaheen is left speechless pic.twitter.com/G1fcAF2Irh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 10, 2019
While it isn’t definite that the intelligence community was spying on the Trump campaign, it was under investigation throughout the campaign without it or Congress being aware that it was going on.
Stefanik wants to make sure that never happens to future candidates. According to a report from the Federalist, the congresswoman hopes her proposed legislation will force the FBI to alert Congress if it opens an investigation into any campaign or candidate for federal office.
Then-FBI Director James Comey admitted to Stefanik that he did not update Congress on the status of the investigation into Trump because he was not required by law to do so. Comey told Stefanik that the issue was too sensitive for him to brief Congress.
“I think our decision was, it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in the quarterly briefings,” he said at the time.
Because of this comment, Stefanik is working to change the law to help Congress provide oversight to the FBI to ensure that future directors cannot use that same loophole to deny transparency in their investigations.
Although it isn’t clear if the legislation will gain traction in the Democratic-controlled House, it’s likely that Trump would be on board. He has often tweeted that Congress needs to protect future presidents from similar investigations.
PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT! It should never be allowed to happen again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2019
The investigation into Trump’s campaign was conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. Although the full report has yet to be released, a summary of the report showed that there was no evidence that Trump or his campaign conspired with the Russians in 2016.