I don’t believe so because there is no real evidence that he did. However, as I suggested yesterday, if one applies the same sort of conspiracy thinking being used to claim that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, one can make out a case that Barack Obama colluded in 2012.
Rep. Peter King made that point during today’s Intelligence Committee hearing. King pointed first to President Obama’s statement to the Russian president, picked up by a live mic, that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with Russia on contentious issues after the U.S. presidential election.
Next, King pointed to Obama’s ridicule of Mitt Romney’s claim that Russia poses a major geopolitical threat to the U.S. When Romney said this during a debate, Obama responded derisively that the 1980s want their foreign policy back.
Obama’s claim that concern over Russia should be a thing of the past was more pro-Russian than anything I can recall Trump saying on the subject. Surely, it’s more useful than Trump’s assertion of the obvious fact that Putin is a strong leader.
Finally, King pointed to Obama’s Syria policy. He said that Obama basically invited Russia into Syria after the 2012 election. Is that an overstatement? Maybe.
However, it’s clear that Obama did turn over to Russia the lead role in developing our response to Assad’s crossing of the “red line” on chemical weapons. He also let Russia take over Syria’s air space. And he sat by as Russia helped turn the civil war decisively in favor of its client through air strikes that inflicted death and destruction on a mass scale.
Democrats complain that President Trump might sell the Ukrainians out Russia. President Obama did sell the Syrians out to Russia and its blood-thirsty client.
Based on these facts, one could throw together a conspiracy theory about the 2012 election at least as plausible (as of now) as the one the Democrats are putting out there. In the case of 2016, we have evidence of Russian interference that may have helped Trump at the margin, but no evidence of Trump doing anything for Russia or promising to.
In the case of 2012, we have evidence (in the form of his own statement) of Obama promising to adopt a more favorable stance towards Russia and evidence of Obama taking a more favorable stance. What may be lacking is evidence of Russia doing anything to help Obama.
If the roles were reversed and Obama were a Republican, I’m fairly confident that the Democrats and their friends in the media would have attributed various Russian action (or inaction, say in Syria) in 2012 to collusion with Obama. And they would be demanding an investigation.
It’s too late to investigate the 2012 election now. However, for what it’s worth, James Comey did say today that if presented with evidence of Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation colluding with the Russians, the FBI would consider the matter. Actually, the FBI may already have some such evidence. According to some reports, the FBI has been, and may still be, investigating the Clinton Foundation.
Maybe Chairman Nunes of the Intelligence Committee will press the FBI on this matter. He might also consider expanding his Committee’s investigation into donations made to Clinton interests by Russia and possible favors received from Hillary Clinton in return.