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Is Biden’s “Unmasking” Request on Flynn a Bombshell or a Bust?

If "unmasking" was such a common practice in 2016 and early 2017, is this really a bombshell that the Vice President's name showed up? I don't know how this is going to play out, but if most Americans think of it the way I think about it, it probably won't hurt Biden.

Tuesday, newly unclassified documents showed that then-Vice President Joe Biden was one of more than a dozen officials who requested “unmasking” of Gen. Mike Flynn from intelligence reports in the transition days between the Obama and Trump administrations, in 2017.

Sen. Rand Paul took great pleasure in exposing these documents.

He also took great pleasure in tweeting his own quotes from the media.

Paul is known for making mountains of self-promotion out of mole hills. The question is, is this Biden thing a mountain or a mole hill?

If you remember, the whole issue of “unmasking” boiled up in 2018 when it was revealed that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, national security adviser Susan Rice, and DNI Director James Clapper engaged in lots of unmasking in 2016. This included individuals in the Trump campaign or its orbit. These unmaskings may have led to further investigations, or fed into existing ones like Crossfire Hurricane.

If “unmasking” was such a common practice in 2016 and early 2017, is this really a bombshell that the Vice President’s name showed up? I don’t know how this is going to play out, but if most Americans think of it the way I think about it, it probably won’t hurt Biden.

The Trump campaign is really good at smearing people, and promoting all kinds of conspiracies without evidence. But they’re not so good feigning care about “rights” and “justice” on the “Russia collusion hoax.” Here’s Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale doing it poorly:

“Americans have a right to know the depth of Biden’s involvement in the setup of Gen. Flynn to further the Russia collusion hoax,” Brad Parscale, the campaign manager of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, said in a statement.

Here’s peabrain hack Corey Lewandowski and political assassin David Bossie published in Fox News, hawking their book while playing up the connection between Biden and the “Deep State”:

Reading these names and learning the stunning facts surrounding this case reminds us that in our book – “Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency”– President Trump told us in 2018 that this investigation would lead all the way up the chain of command into Obama’s Oval Office. It turns out he was right. President Trump knew then that the Deep State was actively trying to destroy him simply because he defeated Hillary Clinton.

When the Democrats send their talking points around to media, and suddenly a “blockbuster” breaks claiming some smoking gun proving Trump Russia collusion, or some other heinous crime, it’s obvious there’s been a coordinated effort to steer the story, right up to using “embargo” tactics to control when it comes out. This Biden thing has the same smell, without the same practiced ease, like a pro baseball team executing a double play, that Democrats and their media lapdogs have. Paul and Trump’s mouthpieces in comparison look like the Bad News Bears.

The memo revealing Biden’s name among those who requested “unmasking” of Flynn was declassified last week by Acting DNI Richard Grenell, and then released by Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley. But it was Rand Paul who ran with it like a flag at the head of a Civil War charge.

The Biden campaign has done little to get ahead of this story. Biden himself is holed up at home (where the elderly should be), in Delaware. A statement from the Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates calls this story “Donald Trump’s attempt at dishonest media manipulation to distract from his response to the worst public health crisis in 100 years.”

“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,” the statement continued, calling the release of the memos by Grassley and Johnson a “gross politicization of the intelligence process.”

If the Republican attempt to tie in Joe Biden to the whole Flynn “Deep State” intelligence coup conspiracy is contrived, the Biden campaign’s response is to give it more fuel to burn. In essence, the response is an admission that of course Biden wanted to know more, because the concern was genuine, but we know it was exactly what the statement accuses Republicans of doing, politicizing the intelligence process.

I think Americans, those who are not consumed in cheering for one team or another (I’m talking about the 5% of so of Americans who will decide the election) can see through these weak attempts to hurl scandal at Biden. Democrats spent nearly four years throwing every unproven accusation, anonymous leak, and tenuous tie-ins to get Trump thrown out of office, and in the end he survived by pure politics. Now they are outraged when these same tactics are used against their guy.

This will blow over, is my prediction. Trump has no rally platform from which to shout slogans. Rand Paul is only good at promoting himself, and Republican mouthpieces and media coordination are no match for the Democrats well-oiled machine. It will be memorable only on Twitter and in the dark recesses of QAnon.

Yes, Biden wanted to unmask Flynn. But a bigger question, that will decide the election, should be, is Joe Biden mentally fit to be president? That, and can the 5% who will decide the election handle four more years of Trump, with an economy on the brink of long-term depression, a virus waiting to flare up in our cities, and a White House robbed of any pretense of independent thought beyond playing yes man to its television-obsessed boss?

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