- President Donald Trump on Sunday launched a series of attacks against former President Barack Obama, referencing a conspiracy theory largely spread by conservative activists.
- The “Obamagate” theory accuses Obama of plotting an FBI investigation of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser, to undermine Trump’s presidency.
- There has been no public evidence for this charge against Obama.
- Trump’s attacks came after Obama criticised the Justice Department’s decision last week to drop its charges against Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia before Trump became president.
- Obama had excoriated the DOJ’s decision, saying in a private call that “the rule of law is at risk.”
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President Donald Trump on Sunday launched a series of attacks on Twitter against Barack Obama and resurfaced a conspiracy theory that the former president was behind an FBI plot to undermine Trump’s presidency.
The attacks came hours after Yahoo News reported on a leaked conversation between Obama and former officials, in which Obama criticised the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser.
Flynn had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump became president in January 2017. The FBI had been probing allegations of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.
In one of his Sunday tweets, Trump simply wrote “OBAMAGATE” – referencing a popular theory among conservatives that Obama had ordered the FBI investigation into Flynn to weaken Trump’s presidency.
Trump also shared a tweet by conservative commentator Buck Sexton, who wrote that “the outgoing president” – an apparent reference to Obama – “used his last weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration.”
“The biggest political crime in American history, by far!” commented Trump.
The biggest political crime in American history, by far! https://t.co/m5nPdUHt4u
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2020
Sexton did not provide any evidence for his claim, which echoed a suggestion made earlier Sunday by Sidney Powell, one of Flynn’s lawyers. She said in an interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures that Obama, in a January 5, 2017, meeting with top intelligence officials, had conspired to take down Flynn.
The “whole thing was orchestrated and set up within the FBI, [then-Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper, [then-CIA Director John] Brennan in the Oval Office meeting that day with President Obama,” she told anchor Maria Bartiromo of the Flynn investigation.
Powell also did not provide any evidence for the claim.
In the private phone call, which was leaked to Yahoo News on Sunday, Obama had described the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as a “chaotic disaster” and warned the “rule of law is at risk,” referencing the DOJ’s decision to drop its charges against Flynn.
Trump fired Flynn in February 2017 – three weeks after taking office – for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia.
Multiple reports by intelligence agencies and congressional investigators have found that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help secure Trump’s victory.
But Trump has continued to assert that FBI investigations, and the investigation overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, were partisan plots to end his presidency.
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