In the pantheon of Republican pseudo-scandals, “unmasking” has always been one of the dumbest. National security officials routinely ask the intelligence community to “unmask” names that have been redacted in raw reports so they can get a better idea of who’s doing what to whom, and the Obama administration did this just like every other administration. Republicans, however, have insisted for years that Susan Rice and others used unmasking requests as cover for a campaign against Michael Flynn, and naturally they demanded an investigation. Just as naturally, Bill Barr gave them what they wanted.
Sadly for Republicans, the investigation turned up nothing. That’s not surprising, and neither is this:
Bash’s team was focused not just on unmasking, but also on whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. But 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, the people familiar with the matter said. The Washington Post was unable to review the full results of what Bash found.
The investigation basically exonerated the Obama team and probably would have hurt Donald Trump’s reelection, so Barr decided to keep it under wraps. This is how the Justice Department works these days: it’s a PR shop for Donald Trump, not an independent agency serving the best interests of the American public. Hopefully that will change in a few months.