It has always been a canard that the Obama administration was free of scandal. In fact, it had plenty of scandal. It was free of accountability.
Q: What did Barack Obama know about the dodgy investigation of Michael Flynn, and when did he know it?
A: More than his attorney general, and before she did.
That is a detail worth keeping in mind.
Democrats take it as a matter of moral certainty that Donald Trump and his political allies can only do wrong and cannot be wronged. Trump and his colleagues insist that they have been wronged in a very serious way: by the Obama administration’s abusing federal counterintelligence tools as an extension (and a post-election extension) of the 2016 presidential campaign. That is a perversion of political power that should command the attention of all Americans irrespective of their assessment of President Trump.
The original decision to target Flynn in the counterintelligence probe was based on a pretty flimsy pretext. And it was driven by the White House, not by the top bosses at DOJ. When acting Attorney General Sally Yates heard about the investigation — from President Obama himself, not from her own department — she “had no idea what the president was talking about,” as she told investigators. The New York Times, not exactly the house organ of the Trump administration, reports that at every turn Obama aides were involved in the investigation even as the acting AG was in the dark.
After vote-fraud activist Catherine Engelbrecht ran afoul of Democrats, who accused her organization of intimidating voters in 2012, the Obama administration responded in extraordinary fashion: She was targeted by the IRS — two business audits, two personal audits — but that was only the beginning. Her business was investigated by the BATF, even though it is in neither the A (alcohol), T (tobacco), nor F (firearms) businesses. She was investigated by OSHA, environmental inspectors, and — Flynn might take note here — subjected to six FBI terrorism inquiries.
In the matter of the IRS targeting Engelbrecht and other conservative political groups, the pattern was not unlike what happened with the Flynn investigation. Political actors drove the investigations: In that case, it was Chuck Schumer, then the Senate majority leader, along with Democrats ranging from Al Franken to Dick Durbin. They demanded IRS investigation of conservative political groups, even identifying targets by name in the case of Crossroads GPS. The House Oversight Committee determined that IRS officials had lied to Congress about the matter. The fact that no one was convicted of a crime in the IRS abuses does not exonerate the Obama administration from the scandal — it deepens the scandal.
Then as now, the Democrats’ answer was a lot of hand-waving, insistence that nothing untoward happened, and unwavering certainty that the victims of the abuse cannot be victims of abuse because they are the bad guys and Obama et al. were the good guys.
There are a lot of bad actors around Trump. He collects miscreants recreationally and socially — Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Bernie Kerik —and is a frequent miscreant himself. That does not give the Obama administration a free pass to use the counterintelligence apparatus — or the IRS, or the BATF, or OSHA or FBI terrorism investigators — for political purposes. Democrats should be even more terrified of that kind of easy abuse right now than Republicans are — look who is president.
The Russia investigation needs investigation. The problem is that there is no entity with the credibility to conduct that investigation — not the DOJ, not Congress, not a blue-ribbon committee appointed by the usual political players in Washington. There can be no real reform without acknowledging that fact, and all the facts.
It has always been a canard that the Obama administration was free of scandal. In fact, it had plenty of scandals. It was free of accountability.
(There is no way to say how Mr. Williamson is going to vote since he is a Never Trumper. Will he vote for Joe Biden who was Obama’s VP? Highly unlikely. But I appreciate his honesty and openness to challenge those who refuse to see the truth of Obama’s presidency. Why? Because Orange Man is bad. That’s a weak argument. /
Thank you for your submittal! I enjoyed reading it. 🥰JD