Trump-era DOJ report debunks right-wing conspiracy theories to cover up Mike Flynn's misconduct: analysis
Mike Flynn (Photo: Screen Capture via video)

An investigation ordered by then-attorney general William Barr rejected conspiracy theories spread by top Republicans accusing the Obama administration of spying on Donald Trump and his allies.

The previously top-secret Justice Department report found no evidence to support the former president's claims that Obama deliberately targeted him and associates such as Michael Flynn by requesting the release of their names in intelligence reports before the former president took office in January 2017, and Washington Post columnist Aaron Blake analyzed the findings.

"The allegations almost always went beyond the known facts," Blake wrote. "And now the Justice Department report affirms that the allegations went way beyond what actually happened, too."

Trump-appointed U.S. attorney John Bash found no unmasking requests had been made before Election Day seeking the identities of any Trump campaign associates caught up in foreign surveillance, and the investigation found the FBI had not shared any intelligence reports discussing communications between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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“I … examined whether any senior officials had obtained General Flynn’s identity in connection with those communications through an unmasking request made during the transition period,” Bash wrote. “The answer is no.”

Flynn's contacts with Kislyak were reported by the Post in January 2017, just days before Trump took office, and the retired U.S. Army general soon after resigned as national security adviser and later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those communications, and Blake said the DOJ report shot down years' worth of right-wing excuses for his conduct.

"The conspiracy theory simmered for a couple years, until Republican senators in the 2020 election year released a list of Obama administration officials who had allegedly requested Flynn’s unmasking — information that had been provided by then-acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist," Blake wrote. "And again, many on the right, despite the dearth of any truly damning information, skipped right over any plausible alternative explanations for how Flynn’s name would’ve become known."