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Attorney General William Barr has reportedly launched a new investigation into the Obama-era “unmasking” scandal that has made news in recent weeks after new information has come to light.
Appearing on Fox News with host Sean Hannity, Department of Justice Director of Communications Kerri Kupec told Hannity that “yes,” Barr has launched a new investigation.
“So, John Durham, as part of his investigation, had been looking at the issue of unmasking. And the attorney general determined that certain aspects of unmasking needed to be reviewed separately, as a support to John Durham’s investigation,” Kupec said. “So, he tapped John Bash, one of our U.S. attorneys out of Texas, to do just that.”
“And, Sean, obviously, we know that unmasking inherently isn’t wrong. But, certainly, the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic,” Kupec continued. “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 can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big-picture events.”
Hannity later said that sources had told him that members of the Trump family and journalists might have been unmasked and asked Kupec if the DOJ was going to look into that.
“Well, that’s why the attorney general determined that it was appropriate to look at unmasking as a support to John Durham’s investigation, and looking specifically at episodes both before and after the election,” Kupec responded. “And, like I said, the frequency, who was unmasking whom, these — all of these circumstances and events can shed light and give us a better understanding of what happened with respect to President Trump, his campaign, then, of course, what happened after he was elected as well.”
U.S. Attorney John Durham was tasked last year with conducting an administrative review of the origins of the Russia investigation and, during the course of the review, turned into a full scale criminal investigation and expanded in size based on evidence that was reportedly found.
Attorney General William Barr said earlier this month that he believes that the investigation that was launched by the FBI into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn was not a legitimate investigation.
“In December, the team, the Crossfire Hurricane team, was closing that and determined they had found nothing to justify continuing with that investigation against Flynn,” Barr told CBS News. “On the very day they prepared the final papers, the seventh floor, that is the director’s office and the deputy director’s office up there, sent down word they should keep that open. So that they could try to go and question Flynn about this call he had with the Russian ambassador.”
“Let me say that, at that point, he was the designated national security adviser for President-Elect Trump, and was part of the transition, which is recognized by the government and funded by the government as an important function to bring in a new administration,” Barr continued. “And it is very typical, very common for the national security team of the incoming president to communicate with foreign leaders.”
“And that call, there was nothing wrong with it whatever. In fact, it was laudable. He– and it was nothing inconsistent with the Obama administration’s policies,” Barr continued. “And it was in U.S. interests. He was saying to the Russians, you know, ‘Don’t escalate.’ And they asked him if he remembered saying that, and he said he didn’t remember that.”