The Biden campaign on Wednesday brushed off the former vice president’s presence on a list of Obama administration officials who apparently sought to “unmask” former national-security adviser Michael Flynn, saying Biden was unaware of Flynn’s identity when the requests for information were made.
Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a memo this week listing the names of officials, including Biden, who sought to “unmask” Flynn’s identity in documents resulting from the surveillance of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, with whom Flynn was in contact. The unmasking requests were made between Election Day 2016 and January 31 2017. Grenell sent the memo to Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson.
“These documents simply indicate the breadth and depth of concern across the American government – including among career officials – over intelligence reports of Michael Flynn’s attempts to undermine ongoing American national security policy through discussions with Russian officials or other foreign representatives,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
The Biden campaign claimed that “none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand,” suggesting that the presumptive Democratic nominee could not have had a political motive to undermine the incoming administration in requesting information on Flynn.
“These documents have absolutely nothing to do with any FBI investigation,” the campaign continued, “and they confirm that all normal procedures were followed – any suggestion otherwise is a flat out lie.”
The campaign went on to accuse the director of national intelligence along with the GOP senators of a “gross politicization of the intelligence process,” saying Grassley and Johnson are “abusing their congressional powers to act as arms of the Trump campaign” by releasing the newly declassified unmasking documents.
The Justice Department moved last week to dismiss the case against Flynn, who pled guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador but withdrew his guilty plea earlier this year.
The judge handling the case has appointed a retired judge to make a case against the DOJ’s decision to drop the charges. The retired judge has been tasked with weighing a perjury charge against Flynn for stating under oath during two separate court appearances that he lied to the FBI and then contradicting himself in January, claiming he never lied to investigators.