Amid report of ‘unmasking’ probe ending without charges, Trump expresses unhappiness

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 8:01 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Washington Post is reporting a federal prosecutor has completed his report on whether Obama-era officials improperly requested names of U.S. intelligence operatives.

No wrongdoing was found, which puts an end to an accusation President Donald Trump supported against his political adversaries.

Trump reacted to the news of his much-hyped conspiracy theory fizzling in an Wednesday afternoon interview, saying, “It’s a disgrace. They’re guilty as hell.”

Trump also expressed exasperation with Attorney General Bill Barr, refusing to say if he’ll keep him around.

“I have no comment, can’t comment on that. It’s too early. I’m not happy with all of the evidence I have, I can tell you that. I’m not happy,” Trump said.

It’s a sudden end to the unmasking investigation some Republicans were relying on to prove wrongdoing by the Obama administration.

“If we weren’t involved in COVID 19 crisis, this would be a scandal, the biggest thing since Watergate,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R - Texas. So much for that.

The president accused his predecessor of treason involved the unmasking of Michael Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser.

Flynn was swept up in foreign intelligence gathering when he spoke with foreign officials who were being monitored by U.S. intelligence.

Typically, Americans' names are kept secret, but several Obama officials unredacted or unmasked Flynn’s identity.

In may, the acting director of national intelligence released the names of Obama officials who allegedly requested that unmasking, and they included former Vice President Joe Biden.

“This was all Obama. This was all Biden. These people were corrupt. The whole thing was corrupt, and we caught them. We caught them,” Trump said.

But unmasking is not illegal. Senior government officials have the ability to ask for names in certain circumstances.

In fact, the Trump administration unmasked nearly 17,000 Americans' identities in 2018, compared with about 9,000 under Obama in 2016.

“To turn this into some sort of a conspiracy in an effort to support the president’s political narrative and for the Justice Department to pick that up and pursue an investigation on absolutely no grounds, it’s disgusting. It’s just absolutely horrible,” said Andrew McCabe, a former FBI Deputy Director

Just last week, Trump called for charges against Obama and Biden.

“These people should be indicted. This was the greatest political crime in the history of our country. And that includes Obama and it includes Biden,” he said.

With word that the investigation into what Trump falsely labeled as treason is over, top Trump allies said they’re going to be asking for more answers.

“I saw that. I want to follow up and if they’ve completed their report, I’d like to know what it is,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Copyright 2020 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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