Anyone who has had the cosmic misfortune of ending up on the president’s Twitter account in recent days would be able to tell you that he has been obsessively ranting about “Obamagate.” What they might not be able to tell you is what Obamagate actually is.
In the simplest terms, it’s Trump’s latest desperate attempt to distract from his administration’s profound pandemic failures and to draw attention away from the fact that 1.4 million Americans now have COVID-19 and at least 85,000 have died so far.
In more fleshed out terms, it’s a convoluted and absurdly incoherent conspiracy theory revolving around allegations that President Obama wielded the federal government in an attempt to destroy Trump’s 2016 campaign.
On some level, it’s Trump trying once again to tarnish the legacy of the first Black president and it also offers him the opportunity to further smear the legitimate and necessary investigation into the disturbing connections between some of his campaign officials and operatives of the Russian government.
Like other conspiracies Trump has deployed in the past, it’s lazily constructed and relies mostly on innuendo and the vague suggestions of wrongdoing. Although it shouldn’t need to be said, the entire thing is bunk. In fact, when he was asked by a reporter to explain what crime he’s accusing Obama of Trump floundered and blurted out “Obamagate” in response before launching into a confused, rambling rant. Not even the president himself understands this idiotic narrative.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 11, 2020
Today, Trump took the extraordinary step of tweeting out that a “Senator or Congressman” should call former President Obama to testify about the “biggest political crime” in American history. Trump claimed that his predecessor “knew EVERYTHING.” As usual, he conveniently failed to explain what “EVERYTHING” is and exactly what kind of crime he’s alleging was committed.
The tweet ended with Trump urging Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of his more reliable and obsequious henchmen, to call Obama to testify. “No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!” he concluded.
It cannot be overstated what a terrifying overreach this is. Trump is abusing his powers of office to pressure Congress into holding a show trial for an enemy in order to help himself politically. It’s the kind of thing one expects from a tinpot dictator, not the President of the United States.
If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama. He knew EVERYTHING. Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2020
Disturbingly, it appears that Graham may already be taking steps to heed Trump’s orders. CNN’s Manu Raju reports that the South Carolina senator has announced a “broad probe” into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Graham promises “multiple, in-depth congressional hearings” related to Crossfire Hurricane, the code name for the FBI’s investigation into the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
At best, this is a partisan attempt to muddy the waters ahead of the 2020 election and paint Trump as some martyred victim of federal investigators. At worst, it’s Graham laying the groundwork to eventually summon former President Obama before Congress in order to dishonorably smear him for the current president’s benefit.
We are entering dangerous, uncharted waters here and if the American people don’t stand up to Trump we could see our democracy erode into something unrecognizable.
Lindsey Graham announces broad probe into how the Russia probe got started and whether Mueller was needed. “The Judiciary Committee will begin holding multiple, in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 14, 2020
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