MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell had the first TV interview with Joe Biden since his name appeared on the list of Obama officials who had requested the unmasking of former national security advisor Michael Flynn but failed to address it directly during the sitdown.
Towards the end of an hour-long town hall event featuring Biden and his potential VP pick Stacey Abrams, O’Donnell invoked the backlash Attorney General William Barr has faced for pushing to drop the criminal case against the three-star general and asked the former vice president about his “involvement” with the investigation.
“What was your involvement in the investigation of Michael Flynn and the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn?” O’Donnell asked.
“I was never a part or had any knowledge of any criminal investigation into Flynn while I was in office. Period. Not one single time,” Biden responded before the interview moved on to another subject.
However, Republicans lawmakers released a declassified list from acting DNI Richard Grenell showing Biden among several top Obama figures having made dozens of unmasking requests between November 2016 and President Trump’s inauguration.
Despite many members of the mainstream media attempting to downplay Wednesday’s breaking news, it was revealed that Biden, along with former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former DNI James Clapper, former U.N. ambassador Samatha Power, former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and former White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, had requested for Flynn to be identified in surveilled conversations with the Russian ambassador.
While the act of requesting the unmasking of American citizens may follow standard protocol, critics point to the illegal leak of Flynn’s name, which was classified information at the time, to The Washington Post in a January 2017 report.