US attorney general William Barr has said he is reviewing the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, declaring he believes the president’s campaign had been spied on and wants to make sure proper procedures were followed.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told senators at a budget hearing that, like a similar House hearing on Tuesday, was dominated by questions about the Russia probe by special counsel Robert Mueller (pictured below).

Barr, who was nominated to his post by Trump four months ago, told a Senate appropriations subcommittee that although he did not have specific evidence of wrongdoing, “I do have questions about it”.

His review is separate from a Justice Department inspector general investigation into the early days of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which Barr said he expects to conclude in May or June.

“I feel that I have an obligation to ensure government power was not abused,” Barr said.

ELSEWHERE, the son of killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi (pictured right) has appeared to acknowledge that financial compensation had been made to his family, but said it did not amount to an admission of guilt by the rulers of Saudi Arabia.

Salah Khashoggi described King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “guardians to all Saudis”.

“Acts of generosity and humanity come from the high moral grounds they possess, not admission of guilt or scandal,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We, Jamal Khashoggi’s family, were brought up by our parents to thank acts of good not disavow.”

On April 1, The Washington Post reported the writer’s children were given million-dollar homes and monthly payments of at least $10,000 in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

last year.

The Post, quoting current and former Saudi officials as well as people close to the family speaking anonymously, reported the payments were approved by King Salman.

AND finally, the parliament of New Zealand has passed sweeping gun laws that outlaw military-style weapons less than a month after mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch left 50 people dead and dozens wounded.

A bill outlawing most automatic and semi-automatic weapons and banning components that modify existing weapons was passed by a vote of 119 to 1 in the House of Representatives after an accelerated process of debate and public submission.

The bill requires only the approval of New Zealand’s governor general, a formality, before becoming law

on Friday.