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If there was any “news” that emerged from Tuesday’s Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee clown show featuring Attorney General Bill Barr, it was a bit of old news.
Though it was reported just before the Black Lives Matter riots exploded in American cities, the news that Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to investigate the intelligence practice known as “unmasking” seemingly fell through the cracks.
There was a belief that U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham had taken on the task as part of his investigation into the origins of the Russian collusion probe, which led to FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.
A number of Obama administration officials were involved in unmasking requests of former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the final month, to include former Vice President Joe Biden.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News host Sean Hannity on May 28 — three days after the death of George Floyd — that the attorney general had “determined that certain aspects of unmasking needed to be reviewed separately as a support to John Durham’s investigation, so he tapped John Bash, one of our U.S. attorneys out of Texas, to do just that.”
But on Tuesday, when Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, referenced the unmasking of Flynn, he expressed surprise when Barr said there was a separate investigation by “another U.S. attorney.”
BREAKING: Attorney General Barr tells House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member @Jim_Jordan that there is a SEPARATE investigation at the Department of Justice to look into the issue of ‘unmasking’ at the DOJ in recent years. pic.twitter.com/Zou8roxAOl
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) July 28, 2020
“Thirty-eight people unmasked Michael Flynn’s name, 48 times in a two-month time frame. Seven people at the Treasury Department unmasked Michael Flynn’s name,” Jordan said. “Is this an issue that Mr. Durham is looking into?”
“I’ve asked another U.S. attorney to look into the issue of unmasking, because of the high number of unmaskings, and some that do not readily appear to have been in the line of normal business,” Barr replied.
“Wait a minute, I want to be clear, so there is another investigation on that issue specifically going on at the Justice Department right now?” the Republican lawmaker asked, clearly taken back by the news.
When Barr answered yes, Jordan said, “Wow. That’s great.”
After asking for the name of the U.S. attorney and Barr confirming it was John Bash, Jordan remarked that this was information that the committee did not know.
As seen in the tweet above from Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz, in describing the revelation as “breaking” news he too was not aware of it.
Fox News reporter Kevin Corke also tagged this as “#NEW.”
The separate investigation appeared to be news to conservative columnist Byron York, as well.
News: At House hearing, Attorney General Bill Barr reveals that he has asked a U.S. Attorney, John Bash of Texas, to look into the issue of unmasking associated with intelligence reporting.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 28, 2020
Politico national security correspondent Natasha Bertrand was quick to call attention to the fact that this had been previously reported — her employer was among the news outlets to do so.
Jim Jordan says the committee didn't know that Barr had appointed John Bash to investigate unmasking. But DOJ spox announced it on Hannity 2 months ago https://t.co/NJnDzPZmFp
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) July 28, 2020
Here is the May 28 “Hannity” interview with Kupec that covered the appointment of Bash:
SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF BILL BARR’S HEARING
- Real news out of Barr hearing concerned Obama admin unmasking probe that fell through the cracks
- Barr laughs. Here’s the finger-waving absurdity that crossed the line for him.
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- ‘You’re a real class act’: Barr sums up day in response to Nadler denying him a 5 min break
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- AG Barr: Nightly riots cannot be called protests, ‘it is, by any objective measure, an assault’ on US gov
- Jim Jordan forces ‘Mr. Myth’ Nadler to face reality, plays footage of violent riots in stinging opener
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