An investigation ordered by U.S. Attorney General William Barr into potentially improper “unmasking” by the Obama administration around the 2016 election has closed without finding evidence of any serious wrongdoing, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.
President Donald Trump and other Republicans have, for months, claimed that the unmaskings proved a conspiracy and were a major scandal, but Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash will not bring any criminal charges in the matter, the Post said.
The report has not been made public and may stay under wraps, the Post reported.
Unmasking refers to a common and legal procedure when government officials can find out the names of U.S. citizens caught in foreign intelligence reports by the National Security Agency. The names are automatically redacted, but finding out the names can make the intelligence reports easier to analyze.
Barr appointed Bash in May to look into allegations of wrongdoing by Obama administration officials who were investigating ties between Trump’s campaign team and Russian officials in 2016. Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was among the names unmasked.
For years, Trump has claimed that the probe by the Obama administration was illegal, and urged criminal charges be brought against those involved.
In May, Trump called the unmasking revelations “a massive thing,” and Texas Sen. John Cornyn called it the “biggest thing since Watergate.”
A similar investigation is still under way by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was harshly criticized by Trump after Barr announced last week that his investigation will not be completed before Election Day.
Bash resigned as U.S. attorney last week in favor of a job in the private sector. A source told the Post that his exit was not related to the unmasking investigation.