"The Five" co-host Juan Williams minimized the controversy involving dozens of requests by Obama administration officials to unmask national security adviser designate Michael Flynn, saying President Trump has not clearly laid out what exactly the scandal is.
"There were so many people who were alarmed by the intercepts of these conversations without knowing who was on the line," Williams said. "That's why they asked for the unmasking and discovered that it was Mike Flynn. Again, they didn't know. They didn't know who was on [the call]."
Co-host Jesse Watters pushed back, asking how Williams could be certain the unmaskings were due to feelings of "alarm" at the communications with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
"That is the nature of it," Williams responded. "That's the reason that you then request permission from the NSA, saying, 'On the basis of this content, I'm making a request to know.' That's exactly the procedure,"
The host added that unmasking requests are made to the intelligence community when officials are concerned about a potential threat to the American people or homeland and claimed Trump appears to be using the public disclosure of the list to deflect from the purported failings of his administration to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Donald Trump has yet to explain what this 'Obamagate' is about, other than to try to distract people from his failed handling of the pandemic," Williams said, nodding to Trump's Wednesday evening tweet that simply read "OBAMAGATE."
"[Fox Business anchor] Maria Bartiromo asked, 'Exactly what crime did Obama commit?' [and Trump] went off about Peter Strzok and Lisa Page," Williams said. "He had nothing -- He came up flat, Jesse."