A just-released Department of Justice report proves that the Obama administration never spied on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as frequently falsely alleged by Donald Trump. In May 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr ordered an investigation into the “unmasking” practices of the 44th administration and appointed John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, to carry it out. After multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed News got a copy of the report authored by Bash.
NEW: I just obtained via #FOIA the secret 2020 DOJ report based on an investigation ordered up by Bill Barr to determine whether Obama officials improperly unmasked Michael Flynn & others prior to & after the 2016 election
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) June 1, 2022
Bash and his team of two US Attorneys, a Supervisory Special Agent of the FBI, and three additional FBI employees reviewed documents from March 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017 – just after Trump’s inauguration and the transfer of Presidential power.
In the report, Bash concluded the exact opposite of Trump’s accusations:
“I have found no evidence that masking requests were made for political purposes or other inappropriate reasons during the 2016 election period or the ensuing transition period.”
Almost a year earlier, Barr had testified before Congress that he believed that “there was spying” on the Trump campaign.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 10, 2019
Curiously, however, he wasn’t as forthcoming with the results of the investigation he ordered that contradicted his previous claims— a report that was delivered to him in September of 2020 — even as Trump continued to push the same false narrative during his 2020 election campaign.
According to The Guardian, the month after disgraced General Michael Flynn was forced to resign as former national security advisor for communications he had with the Russian ambassador and for lying to then-Vice President Mike Pence about the content of those conversations, Trump began repeating the unsubstantiated claim that his campaign had been spied on by Obama and the Democrats.
Trump repeated this claim ad museum during his presidency and continued to repeat it after he was defeated by Joe Biden.
It was a claim echoed by Fox News, the GOP, and every MAGA supporter you encountered. In May 2018, when he still had a Twitter account, Donald Trump tweeted that the Obama FBI “SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT!” The scandal that ensued was as big as Nixon’s Watergate, at least in Trump’s mind.
But it was all a lie, a smokescreen. It was a way to project and deflect from the nefarious activities going on in the Trump administration at the time. And now there’s proof in the form of the Bash Report.
As far as Michael Flynn’s identity being illegally revealed goes, John Bash stated in his report:
“I have not found any basis to conclude that the requests were motivated by an improper purpose.”
Bash concluded his report with a definitive declaration that there was no crime committed and no basis for Trump’s fraudulent claims.
“I have not identified a sufficient basis to conduct a criminal investigation of any individual involved in the unmasking process. I have found no evidence that any official falsified a document. And I have found no sufficient evidence that any individual lied to Congress.”
As more information is revealed that exposes the web of lies and gaslighting perpetuated by Trump, his administration, and the Republican Party, let’s hope the fog of conspiracy begins to lift, and that this country, its people, and its democracy can finally breathe freely.
You can read the entire Bash Report at this link.
Original reporting by Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed News.
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