Former President Barack Obama directed the conspiracy of top intelligence community aides who sought to take down former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump said Sunday.
Trump appeared Sunday on the Fox News show “Sunday Morning Futures.” He was interviewed Wednesday by host Maria Bartiromo.
Much of their conversation centered around the case of Flynn, who had been accused of improperly communicating with a foreign official after his phone calls to a former Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition period were listened to and later leaked. Flynn was forced to step down, and later faced charges after an FBI investigation.
The Justice Department is currently seeking to drop charges against Flynn and have his case dismissed.
Flynn was among those “unmasked” by Obama-era officials. Unmasking is the intelligence term used for those instances when American citizens speaking to foreign nationals under surveillance have their identities revealed. It takes an official request to do so.
In recent days, the Trump administration released a list of Obama administration officials who made unmasking requests and who could have learned of Flynn’s identity through them.
Due to the presence on that list of former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and comments from the attorney currently representing Flynn, Obama’s name has now become linked to the effort to target Flynn.
Other names on the list include former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey and former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
Trump pulled no punches in the interview.
“It was the greatest political crime in the history of our country,” he said.
“If I were a Democrat instead of a Republican, I think everybody would have been in jail a long time ago. And I’m talking with 50-year sentences,” the president said. “It is a disgrace, what’s happened. This is the greatest political scam, hoax in the history of our country, and people should be going to jail for this stuff. And, hopefully, a lot of people are going to have to pay.”
He said that “Flynn and others are heroes, heroes, because what’s happened to them — they weren’t after General Flynn. They wanted him to lie about me, make up a story. And with few exceptions, nobody did that,” he said.
“This was all Obama. This was all Biden. These people were corrupt. The whole thing was corrupt. And we caught them. We caught them,” Trump said.
The president fired a shot at Biden.
“I watched Biden yesterday. He could barely speak,” Trump said. “He was on ‘Good Morning America,’ right? And he said he didn’t know anything about it. And now it just gets released. Right after he said that, it gets released that he was one of the unmaskers, meaning he knew everything about it.”
The president said the Obama-era intelligence community “went after these people viciously, all because they wanted to hurt the president of the United States. They figure they’ll either hurt him or they’ll take him out. That would be the ideal.
“Comey is a corrupt person, but let me tell you, Brennan bad. They’re all bad, everyone. Clapper is a not-smart guy, in charge of intelligence. But here’s the thing. It was impossible for it to happen without the man that sits right in that chair in the Oval Office. He knew everything.”
Bartiromo asked Trump whether Obama directed the effort against him.
“Yes, he probably directed them. But if he didn’t direct them, he knew everything. And you will see that,” he said.
Trump noted that communications from FBI agents involved in the hunt for evidence to show his campaign colluded with Russia mentioned that the then-president wanted to see everything.
“They’re not talking about me. I wasn’t president. They’re talking about ‘POTUS wants to see everything.'” Trump said.
He said Brennan was “totally involved.”
“John Brennan was one of the architects, in my opinion. You look at Brennan, you look at Clapper, you look at them all,” the president said.
Trump said the intelligence community did not go rogue.
“But, ultimately, the president knew everything. The president knew everything. President Obama and Vice President Biden, they knew everything,” he said.
The president said the truth has finally emerged.
“If this happened to Obama instead of to a Republican president that’s popular, 96 percent in the Republican Party, but it’s a whole different thing. If this happened to Obama instead of to me, you know what? Everybody would be in jail for years already, for years. It’s a disgraceful thing,” Trump said.
“We caught them in the act, Maria. It’s a beautiful thing,” he said. “And every day, we’re seeing more and more information come out. We caught them. And their guys are gone. They were guarding the fort. Comey and all these guys, they were guarding the fort. And once they left, it got easier and easier.
“And now it’s like an avalanche of really bad — call it treason, call it whatever you want, but they tried to take down a duly elected president of the United States.”
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