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DOJ ‘Unmasking’ Probe Produces No Charges

The federal prosecutor ordered by Attorney General William Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of people whose names were redacted in intelligence documents finished his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, the Washington Post reports. The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who resigned last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Donald Trump at a moment when he is upset at the Justice Department. DOJ has declined to release the results of Bash’s work. Conservatives have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.

Trump has been pressing federal law enforcement to move against his political adversaries. He complained that a different prosecutor tapped by Barr to investigate the FBI’s 2016 investigation of his campaign will not be issuing public findings before the election. Legal analysts feared that Bash’s review was another attempt by Trump’s Justice Department to target political opponents of the president. Even if it ultimately produced no results of consequence, it allowed Trump and other conservatives to say Obama-era officials were under scrutiny. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec disclosed Bash’s review in May after Republican senators made public a list of U.S. officials, including former vice president Joe Biden, who made requests that would reveal the name of Trump adviser Michael Flynn in intelligence documents.