Fox News' Tucker Carlson Declares Obama Spied on Trump While MSNBC Attacks Barr For Touting 'Factless Conspiracy Theory'

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday declared that the "Obama administration spied on Donald Trump's presidential campaign" after Attorney General William Barr revealed he believed "spying did occur" during his second consecutive day of testimony on Capitol Hill. Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, MTP Daily host Chuck Todd slammed Barr for feeding a "factless conspiracy theory."

"I think spying did occur," Barr told members of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee earlier today. "But the question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I'm not suggesting it wasn't adequately predicated. But I need to explore that."

The attorney general's statement prompted Republicans to deem such a probe as long overdue while Democrats have called allegations of spying a "debunked conspiracy theory."

During the opening of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host launched into a monologue on Barr's statements, where he asserted that "spying" did happen and condemned Democrats for "refusing to admit" it.

"The Attorney General has just confirmed what has been obvious for months now, the Obama administration spied on Donald Trump's presidential campaign," Carlson explained. "Nothing like this has happened in modern American history. Barr dropped the news almost in passing during testimony before Congress this morning."

"There's no disputing the points that Barr made," the Fox News host continued. "Spying on a presidential campaign is a big deal, especially when it was authorized by a rival administration."

Carlson then condemned the spying and criticized Democrats and the media for refusing to admit it happened. "Law enforcement should never be used as a partisan political tool no matter who it benefits," he said. "But the media doesn't feel that way about Obama's spying. They refuse to even admit that it was spying."

The Fox News host went on to list instances of what he believes to be spying, which included the FBI wiretapping Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2016 and 2017 and the government's monitoring of Trump's former foreign-policy adviser Carter Page. Page was not surveilled by the government until after he left Trump's campaign.

"This is all spying, there's no other word for it," he added. "Domestic spying during a presidential campaign did happen and we have a right to know who participated in it, who authorized it and what their motives were."

MSNBC's coverage of Barr's statements was starkly different to Carlson's. The network's host Chuck Todd opened MTP Daily by rebuking the attorney general's statements as one that peddles a "factless conspiracy theory."

"Using the word spying plays into the president's language and argument that the Russia investigation to him is just a witch hunt and every time they've brought up this allegation, there has been zero factual basis for it," Todd said. "Every effort to perpetrate the spying conspiracy theory has been debunked."

Later in the segment, Todd added: "It feels like that basically the attorney general gaslit the country."

Barr didn't just cause a network divide on the issue, the attorney general's comments also prompted a staunch partisan divide.

Many Republicans lawmakers have encouraged the news and suggested it could shed light on suspicions of bias against Trump within the FBI and DOJ.

"I think that there is enough smoke that there's worth looking into," Republican Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Intelligence Committee, told Newsweek. "But let me make it very clear, I think we needed the Mueller investigation, regardless."

Trump himself has addressed the matter several times since he took office in January 2017. Last year, the president tweeted about "Spygate," a term referring to allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign.

However, Democrats have widely-criticized Barr for making the allegation, which they deemed "irresponsible" and a mere "conspiracy theory."

"[Barr] knows there was ample evidence of Russian attempts to infiltrate the Trump campaign and that the FBI took lawful action to stop it," Democratic Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, tweeted. "Giving a wink and a nod to this long-debunked 'spying' conspiracy theory is irresponsible."

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 12
Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday slammed the Obama administration for allegedly "spying" on Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, while MSNBC accused Attorney General William Barr of touting "fact-less conspiracy theories." Fox News/Screenshot
Fox News' Tucker Carlson Declares Obama Spied on Trump While MSNBC Attacks Barr For Touting 'Factless Conspiracy Theory' | U.S.