DOJ Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec joined Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night to discuss the latest developments in the Flynn case.
Kupec told Hannity that, following the release of the list of Obama Administration officials who requested unmaskings of Gen. Michael Flynn’s phone calls during the presidential transition period, Attorney General William Barr has asked the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, John Bash, to conduct a review.
U.S. Attorney John Durham has reviewed the unmaskings as part of his investigation into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion probe, but Kupec said Barr believes “certain aspects of the practice needed further review.”
Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to defy the DOJ’s request for dismissal of the Flynn case has drawn more scrutiny to the suspiciously long list of those who requested unmaskings before and after the election. The DOJ’s motion to dismiss came one week after exculpatory documents in the case were unsealed revealing top FBI officials discussing how they would set up a perjury trap for Flynn the next day.
Kupec told Hannity, “Unmasking inherently isn’t wrong, but certainly, the frequency, the motivation and the reasoning behind unmasking can be problematic, and when you’re looking at unmasking as part of a broader investigation — like John Durham’s investigation — looking specifically at who was unmasking whom, can add a lot to our understanding about motivation and big picture events.”
When intelligence officials are surveilling the communications of a foreigner, and that individual is speaking to a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen’s identity is “masked” or concealed. This information has been picked up “incidentally.” If officials believe that wrongdoing has occurred, they can request the name of the U.S. citizen.
The unusually high number of unmaskings of Flynn’s calls has obviously raised eyebrows and deserves further investigation.
This is the second time Barr has tapped an outside prosecutor in this case. In February, Barr appointed the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Missouri, Jeff Jensen, to conduct an objective (outside of Washington, D.C.) review of the Flynn Case. Following his evaluation, it was Jensen who recommended that the case be dropped.
Moreover, Kupec confirmed that the U.S. Court of Appeals, which has ordered Judge Sullivan to respond to the Flynn legal team’s writ of mandamus by June 1, 2020 and to explain his “controversial and unorthodox conduct in handling” of the case, has also invited the DOJ to weigh in. Kupec added, “and we will.”
“We [the DOJ] have the prosecutorial discretion to make that decision [to dismiss a case],” Kupec said.