“Obama Had to Know”

In his now-famous interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Trump was asked whether he thought Barack Obama was in on Russiagate:

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked, “You clearly believe there was a group of people working against you. Do you think President Obama was behind it?”

“I would say that he certainly must have known about it because it went very high up on the chain, but you’re going to find that out,” the President replied. “I’m not going to make that statement quite yet, but I would say President Obama had to know about it.”

What did President Obama know, and when did he know it? Those questions need to be asked by investigators both inside and outside of Congress. I think Trump’s surmise is correct, not only because the anti-Trump effort rose high up into the bureaucracy, but because Peter Strzok told his lover that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”

We also shouldn’t forget Susan Rice’s weird memo to herself, written just minutes before Donald Trump’s inauguration ended the Obama administration. Given the timing, we can assume Rice thought the subject of the memo was important. The memo describes a meeting with President Obama, Joe Biden, James Comey and Sally Yates that occurred two weeks before the end of the Obama administration. Rice’s memo to herself includes this:

From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.

The President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.

What information did Obama not want shared with the incoming administration, in violation of longstanding tradition? I wrote:

What were the secrets that Obama wanted to keep from the new administration? We can easily surmise that the fact that the Steele memo was paid for by the Democratic Party; that the FBI had to some degree collaborated with Steele; that the Clinton campaign had fed some of the fake news in the dossier to Steele; and that Comey’s FBI had used Steele’s fabrications as the basis for FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign were among the facts that Obama and his minions didn’t want Michael Flynn and Donald Trump to know. Susan Rice, we can infer, was told to keep these secrets, and if anyone ever asked why she had failed to disclose them to Michael Flynn and others on Trump’s team, or even lied to those people, she would have the defense that President Obama ordered her to do it.

There are several reasons to believe that Barack Obama was up to his eyeballs in Russiagate. What did he know, and when did he know it? Possibly we will find out, one of these days.

One more thing: Joe Biden was at the meeting where Obama warned his minions not to tell the Trump administration the truth about the Russia scandal. People tend to assume that Slow Joe is a cipher who doesn’t have much to do with anything that happens, with good reason. But maybe in the course of the presidential campaign, someone will think to ask Biden what it was that Barack Obama was trying to keep secret from Donald Trump.

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