Obama Must Testify
Jeffrey Lord
by

It’s time.

As the House and Senate investigations start up, with the House Intelligence Committee hearing from FBI Director James Comey today, there is someone missing from the witness list.

That would be: Former President Barack Obama.

Again, let’s recount just six stories previously cited in this space.

The New York Times on January 19, 2017:

Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump….

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

The New York Times, January 12, 2017:

N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications

WASHINGTON — In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The New York Times, March 1, 2017:

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking

WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.…

As WikiLeaks was pushing out emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee through online publication, American intelligence began picking up conversations in which Russian officials were discussing contacts with Trump associates, and European allies were starting to pass along information about people close to Mr. Trump meeting with Russians in the Netherlands, Britain and other countries.

The New York Times, February 9, 2017:

Flynn Is Said to Have Talked to Russians About Sanctions Before Trump Took Office

WASHINGTON — Weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, discussed American sanctions against Russia, as well as areas of possible cooperation, with that country’s ambassador to the United States, according to current and former American officials.…

But current and former American officials said that conversation — which took place the day before the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia over accusations that it used cyberattacks to help sway the election in Mr. Trump’s favor — ranged far beyond the logistics of a post-inauguration phone call. And they said it was only one in a series of contacts between the two men that began before the election and also included talk of cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State, along with other issues.

The New York Times, January 20, 2017 (Photo image here)

Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides

In this story the Times reports that “… wiretapped communications had been provided to the (Obama) White House.”

And then there was this from the Washington Post via the Wall Street Journal:

The Washington Post, March 2, 2017

The Wall Street Journal, following The Post’s report, added that “U.S. investigators have examined contacts… Sessions had with Russian officials during the time he was advising” Trump’s campaign. “The outcome of the inquiry, and whether it is ongoing, wasn’t clear,” per Carol E. Lee, Christopher S. Stewart, Rob Barry and Shane Harris. “The contacts were being examined as part of a wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation into possible communications between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives.”

Now? Via RightScoop (Hat tip Mark Levin) comes this Sunday night:

WATCH: Rep. Schiff Expects FBI Director Comey to “Definitively” Testify Trump’s Wiretap Claim Was False Tomorrow

On “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, Rep. Adam Schiff (D), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that he expects FBI Director James Comey to state definitively that President Trump’s claim he was wiretapped by former President Obama to be completely false when he testifies before Congress tomorrow.

See the trick with this? The effort to prove that Trump was wrong about an Obama wiretapping of Trump personally has been turned into a convenient if obvious way to deny all those New York Times and Washington Post reports that emphatically state, to quote the Times again, bold print supplied, that:

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump….

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit.

There is one person — and one person alone — who can begin to sort all of this out: Former President Obama. He should be called to testify post haste. Here are a sample of the questions for any interested member of Congress or the Senate.

1. Your administration surveilled the e-mails of Fox reporter James Rosen, tried to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify on his sources  for a book on the CIA. Mr. Risen went so far as to say you were the “Greatest Enemy To Press Freedom In A Generation.” Understanding these facts, why should Americans not believe that your administration used surveillance capabilities on President Trump’s associates or even the President himself? And can you categorically deny that reporting by John Solomon and Sara Carter of circa.com of an investigation by your government into a Trump server  is false?

2. Do you read the New York Times and the Washington Post? Did your White House Communications staff read the Times and the Post and did they supply you with the news of stories as presented by those papers

3. Did you read the New York Times on January 12th of this year? January 19th of this year? January 20th? February 9th? March 1st? Did you read the Washington Post on March 2nd?

4. Were you aware at any time that the news media was reporting multiple stories that your administration had leaked surveillance of anyone connected to the Trump campaign, Trump businesses or other Trump-related activity? If not, why not?

5. The New York Times headlined and reported on March 1st:

Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking

WASHINGTON — In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.…

Mr. President: Is this report by the New York Times accurate? Sir, did officials in your White House ever “spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government”?

6. Mr. President, at any time did officials of your government seek to “leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” … intelligence that reported on anyone connected to then candidate or president-elect Donald Trump, his campaign, his businesses or any other Trump-related enterprise?

7. Mr. President, are you willing to voluntarily turn over all papers or electronic communications and phone records of your White House and the larger government then-under your supervision that this committee deems relevant to its investigation?

8. Sir, did your administration surveil in any fashion — electronic, wireless, in-person or otherwise — the activities of Attorney General Jefferson Sessions when he was a sitting United States Senator?

9. Were you or anyone in your White House ever aware that, as per the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, the “FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Treasury Department” were conducting a “wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation into possible communications between members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives.”

10. Mr. President, if the answer to that last question is no — can you explain why the New York Times would report on March 1st that — and I quote:

“In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.…”

Sir? Respectfully? If this report from the Times is true, does this mean you were uninformed of what went on in your own White House?

Thank you, Mr. President. I have unfortunately run out of time for my questions. But we are appreciative you have taken your time to come and help us all clear up everyone’s questions.

Of which, I am sure, my colleagues will have more — as will our friends across the media.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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