Barr’s Attempt To Investigate The Russia Investigators Fizzles Without Charges
Attorney General William Barr appointed a federal prosecutor to investigate whether officials from the Obama administration improperly requested identities of individuals redacted in intelligence reports, and the investigation found no substantive wrongdoing, The Washington Post reports.
The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department.
The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.
- Bash announced last week that he was resigning from the Justice Department but made no mention of the unmasking review.
- Asked on Tuesday if Bash’s departure was related to the probe, Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said, “No, that was not my understanding.”
- The Post reported that “Bash’s team was focused not just on unmasking, but also whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe.”
- However, “the findings ultimately turned over to Barr fell short of what Trump and others might have hoped, and the attorney general’s office elected not to release them publicly, according to the people familiar with the matter.”
It was not immediately clear why the department was holding back Bash’s findings. Officials do not generally discuss investigations that have been closed without criminal charges — though Bash’s case is unusual because it was announced publicly by the department spokeswoman. Justice Department policies and tradition, too, call for prosecutors not to take public steps in cases close to an election that might affect the results.