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Nate Jackson / May 29, 2020

Durham Probe Expands to Unmasking

U.S. Attorney John Bash will be looking into the increased frequency and motivation.

One of the week’s overlooked stories is this from the Washington Examiner: “Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Bash to conduct an investigation into the ‘unmasking’ saga during the waning days of the Obama administration with a specific focus on the time period just before and right after President Trump’s election in November 2016.”

Bash’s work will be in tandem with the criminal investigation being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham in the fiasco of the deep-state resistance to Donald Trump. Barr has called Durham’s findings so far “troubling,” though he said the probe is unlikely to ensnare Barack Obama or Joe Biden.

As for the “unmasking,” it’s legal and not at all unusual for Americans’ identities to be revealed upon request during intelligence investigations. What is unusual is for partisan players in a presidential administration to do it so frequently to an opposition candidate and his campaign.

“Unmasking inherently isn’t wrong, but certainly the frequency, the motivation, and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic,” said DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec. “And when you’re looking at unmasking as part of a broader investigation — like John Durham’s investigation — looking specifically at who was unmasking whom, [that] can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big picture events.”

Did various Obama officials — from VP Biden to Chief of Staff Denis McDonough — have authority and justification for unmasking Trump surrogates, including his family members? And did the frequent unmasking play a role in setting up the abusive Operation Crossfire Hurricane that yielded Robert Mueller’s investigation? Those and other questions are the ones we hope Bash and Durham answer.

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