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Barr asks US attorney to further investigate 'unmasking' in 2016

Barr asks US attorney to further investigate 'unmasking' in 2016
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Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money Trump says he doesn't actually want Whitmer, Biden and Obama to be locked up despite chants MORE has asked a U.S. attorney to look into the practice of “unmasking” before and after the 2016 presidential election, a spokesperson for the Justice Department said Wednesday on Fox News’s “Hannity.” 

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Barr has asked U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash to review the “unmasking.” 

"Unmasking inherently isn't wrong, but certainly, the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic, and when you're looking at unmasking as part of a broader investigation – like John DurhamJohn DurhamTrump remarks put pressure on Barr Trump demands Barr investigate Hunter Biden Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE's investigation – looking specifically at who was unmasking whom, can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big picture events," Kupec said on “Hannity.” 

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Barr tapped Durham to oversee an investigation into the FBI’s decisionmaking in the Russia probe. 

Kupec said Durham was looking into the “unmasking,” but told Fox News that Barr determined certain aspects of the practice needed further review and assigned Bash. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE has suggested Obama administration officials were involved in criminal wrongdoing in connection with the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference. Trump encouraged investigations into former President Obama and other officials from the Obama administration. 

Barr said earlier this month that he does not expect a criminal investigation of Obama or former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to result from Durham’s probe. 

There is no evidence that Obama or Biden were involved in criminal wrongdoing in connection with the Russia investigation, and Durham has yet to charge anyone in connection with the probe. But Trump has upped his attacks on his predecessor and pointed to details released in connection with the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

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The Trump administration this month declassified a list of Obama-era officials who have received Flynn’s name after requesting it be “unmarked” in intelligence reports. 

Experts have described the act of unmasking as something that is not uncommon within the intelligence community. 

The Justice Department moved to drop charges against Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in 2016. The department’s motion needs to be approved by a judge.