(revised May 19, 2020)  On Sunday May 10, 2020—in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic—President Trump sent off 126 tweets and re-tweets, not quite a record, but close.  These included several tweets introducing "Obamagate," which he termed "the greatest political scandal in the history of the United States."  The essence of Trump's allegations, which are built on the thinnest of reeds, is that, in the words of a campaign press release, the Obama-Biden Administration engaged in a "massive abuse of power...to undermine the new presidency of a political rival."  The problem is that the story is based on wild extrapolations, in which, for example, an email from Susan Rice recounting a Jan. 5, 2017 meeting (+) is seen as proof of an "anti-Trump operation" run out of Oval Office.  In the absence of concrete evidence "Obamagate" boils down to, in the words of journalist Susan Glasser, "niche programming for Trump superfans." 

Background:  The allegations are not new; Trump has claimed since March 2017 that the Obama administration spied on his campaign.  Attorney General William Barr's controversial May 7, 2020 decision to dismiss the case against former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (>) triggered Trump's latest round of charges. 

Opinion: There may be legitimate questions, for example about leaks, but ultimately "Obamagate" is another example of "the pot calling the kettle black," of Trump's practice of creating distractions to divert attention from his own faults.  In 2016 it was the Clinton emails and "lock her up."  In 2020 Biden will face the same treatment; the Trump campaign has sent sent out emails proclaiming "Biden Is Guilty."  If "Obamagate" doesn't pan out Trump, his allies and his campaign will no doubt settle on another rabbit hole, perhaps the Hunter Biden-Burisma story or  "Beijing Biden."  Meanwhile, beyond Trump's response to the pandemic, about which so much has been written, the ever-growing catalog of unfavorable news coming out of Trump Administration continues: "EPA decides against limits on drinking water pollutant linked to health risks, especially in children" (May 14) and "Trump ousts State Department watchdog" (May 15), "Trump-Favored Firm Lands Huge Border Wall Contract" (May 20), "Trump administration paying huge premium for mask-cleaning machines. Which don't do the job." (May 20)...

–.  "Trump wiretapping claim: Did Obama bug his successor?"  BBC, Mar. 20, 2017.
Glenn Kessler.  "What's the evidence for 'spying' on Trump's campaign? Here's your guide."  The Washington Post, May 6, 2019.
Tim Miller. "Taking #Obamagate Seriously."  The Bulwark, May 12, 2020.
–. "Explainer: What is 'Obamagate' and where did it come from."  Al Jazeera, May 14, 2020.
Susan B. Glasser.  "'Obamagate is Niche Programming for Trump Superfans."  New Yorker, May 15, 2020.

On the Rice email...
Mollie Hemingway.  "Obama, Biden Oval Office Meeting On January 5 Was Key To Entire Anti-Trump Operation."  The Federalist, May 8, 2020.

Betsy Woodruff Swan.  "Trump administration declassifies full Susan Rice email sent on Inauguration Day."  Politico, May 19, 2020.
Sean Davis.  "BREAKING: Declassified Susan Rice Email Confirms Michael Flynn Was Personally Targeted In Oval Office Meeting."  The Federalist, May 19, 2020.

Excerpt from President Trump's May 11, 2020 Press Briefing

Q    Mr. President, in one of your Mother’s Day tweets, you appear to accuse President Obama of the biggest political crime in American history, by far.


Q    Those were your words.  What crime exactly are you accusing President Obama of committing?  And do you believe the Justice Department should prosecute him?

THE PRESIDENT:  “Obamagate.”  It’s been going on for a long time.  It’s been going on from before I even got elected.  And it’s a disgrace that it happened.  And if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at, now, all of this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again.

And you’ll be seeing what’s going on over the next — over the coming weeks.  But I — and I wish you’d write honestly about it, but unfortunately, you choose not to do so.

Yeah.  Jon, please.

Q    What is the crime exactly that you’re accusing him of?

THE PRESIDENT:  You know what the crime is.  The crime is very obvious to everybody.  All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
May 13, 2020

BOMBSHELL: General Flynn Was Unmasked Via Request Made In Joe Biden’s Name

Biden isn’t being honest about what he knew and when.
Today’s bombshell news that a request to unmask General Michael Flynn’s identity was made in Joe Biden’s name is the latest evidence that Biden simply isn’t being honest about what role he played in the Obama-Biden FBI’s abuses of power against President Trump and his team.

We learned last week that the January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting where Obama, Biden, FBI Director James Comey and others were present focused heavily on Michael Flynn. Biden first claimed “knew nothing” about the Flynn investigation. But when ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos pressed him, Biden caved and admitted, “I was aware.”

Now we know this was very likely a big understatement. According to newly declassified information, requests to unmask Flynn’s identity in intelligence reports were made by several Obama-Biden Administration officials – including in Joe Biden’s name. That request was made on January 12, 2017, the same day that a “senior U.S. government official” leaked this classified information to The Washington Post in order to fuel the Democrat Media’s Russia collusion conspiracy fire. That leak was a felony, and no one has been held accountable.

It's clear Biden is not being honest about what he knew about the targeting of Flynn. What more is he hiding? Biden needs to come clean about his role in the Obama-Biden Administration’s massive abuse of power against a decorated military veteran and the operation to undermine the new presidency of a political rival.

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
May 15, 2020

Why Joe Biden is Misleading Americans About His Role in Targeting Michael Flynn

“Partisan officials who had no business spying on their successors”

As usual, most of the media is downplaying the latest revelations about the Obama-Biden FBI’s targeting of General Michael Flynn, even though it is not in dispute that a felony was committed by whoever leaked details of Flynn’s December 2016 phone call to the media. Both NBC News and The Washington Post published supposedly exhaustive explainers about the unmasking bombshell – yet neither outlet even mentioned the criminal January 12, 2017, leak about Flynn to the Washington Post that supercharged the Russia collusion hoax.

Meanwhile, Biden’s story on the Flynn case has evolved from knowing “nothing” to being “aware” of an “investigation” to never having “knowledge of any criminal investigation,” an eyebrow-raising qualifier that allows him to deny any knowledge of something that did not exist while avoiding answering for the counterintelligence investigation that actually did exist.

This is a major story that should not be ignored. Don’t just take our word for it:

The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald:

“What newly released documents over the last month reveal is what has been generally evident for the last three years: The powers of the security state agencies — particularly the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the DOJ — were systematically abused as part of the 2016 election and then afterward for political rather than legal ends. … [T]here was also massive corruption on the part of the investigators themselves, exploiting and abusing their vast and invasive investigative and prosecutorial powers for ideological goals, political subterfuge, election manipulation, and personal vendettas.”

The Hill, Jonathan Turley:

“Seeking unmasking information that was likely to reveal the name of a political opponent and possibly damage the Trump administration raises a concern. More importantly, it adds a detail of the scope of interest and involvement in an investigation that targeted Flynn without any compelling evidence of a crime or collusion. The media portrayed both Obama and Biden as uninvolved. But now we know they both actively followed the investigation…Biden has repeatedly denied knowledge of the investigation. Just a day before the latest disclosure, George Stephanopoulos asked Biden in an interview what he knew of the Flynn investigation. Biden was adamant that he knew nothing about ‘those moves’ and he called it a diversion. But that is not true if he took the relatively uncommon action for a vice president of demanding the unmasking of Flynn information.”

Washington Post, Marc Thiessen:

“The crime of leaking the details about Flynn and Kislyak’s call could only have been committed by a small universe of people who had access to the unmasked intelligence on Flynn. We don’t know whether it was someone on the list. That is for U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the Russia probe, to determine. But this much is certain: Obama administration officials leaked unmasked intelligence about Flynn to the press. The fact that those individuals have gone unpunished for three years, while Flynn has endured a legal hell, is appalling.”

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board:

“But most of the rest are partisan officials who had no business spying on their successors…The Flynn unmasking is important because it occurred amid a media frenzy over supposed Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Leaks to the Washington Post about the conversations between the Russian ambassador and both Mr. Flynn and soon-to-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions were played up as central to the collusion scandal… The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of American democracy, or at least it used to be. It isn’t supposed to be an opportunity for the Administration that lost the election to cripple its successors as they take power."

Washington Times Editorial Board:

“Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has reportedly unmasked the Obama administration officials who unmasked, or revealed, Mr. Flynn’s identity in telephone contact with Russia’s ambassador. The list of culprits, which rests on Mr. Barr’s Justice Department desk, should be held up for public gaze so Americans can learn who turned the nation’s spy apparatus against a patriot in order to undermine an incoming president they despised.”

New York Post Editorial Board:

“True, it’s not unusual for officials to make unmasking requests, but Obama’s team was obsessed with Trump’s foreign-policy team, particularly Michael Flynn, who had been kicked out of Obama’s administration. Were these legitimate worries, or a vendetta? Or just anger that Trump wanted to pursue a foreign policy different from Obamas? And given how the FBI pushed to bring down Flynn, the broad Team Obama interest in Flynn’s conversation certainly raises red flags.”

National Review, David Harsanyi:

“[M]any of the same characters central to all this apparent malfeasance now want to retake power in Washington. Biden is the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, he’s running as the heir to Obama’s legacy, and he was at that meeting with Rice. He had denied even knowing anything about the FBI investigation into Flynn before being forced to correct himself after ABC’s George Stephanopoulos pointed out that he was mentioned in Rice’s email. It’s completely legitimate to wonder what he knew about the investigation.”

Washington Examiner, Quinn Hilyer:

“Who were those officials? Why were they telling reporters the content of secretly recorded phone conversations from the then-private-citizen, incoming national security adviser? Even if it were legal to tape those calls, the reason it would have been legal was for protecting national security, because of an intelligence operation. If it is part of an intelligence operation, it is classified…. It is also inexcusable to harm the national security of this nation by leaking details of a counter-intelligence operation. Whichever of those Obama administration officials committed those leaks, even if the leakers included former vice president Joe Biden or his staff, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Fundraising emails, including these two from May 16, 2020, echo the Obamagate theme: