‘Obamagate’. ‘Treason.’ Trump’s false claims about Obama

Donald Trump gained momentum for his political career by promoting the unfounded “primitive” conspiracy theory about President Obama. Now, in the face of a pandemic, a shattered economy, and riots after more than three years in the White House, Trump continues to push incendiary and unsubstantiated theories about his predecessor.

Trump said Tuesday, without evidence, that Obama had committed “treason” by spying on his campaign, referring to his long-standing claim that the Obama administration tapped his phone lines at the Trump Tower before the 2016 general election.

“It is treason,” he said during an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network that aired on Tuesday. “Look, when I came out a long time ago, I said that they had been spying on my campaign … it turned out I was right. Let’s see what happens to them now.

Trump tweeted last month that Obama committed “the greatest political crime in the history of the United States.” A missive in a storm of Mother’s Day tweets simply said, “OBAMAGATE!”

But when asked at a press conference to explain what he was claiming Obama had done, Trump declined. “You know what the crime is,” Trump told reporters. “Crime is very obvious to everyone.”

In the days that followed, it became clear that “Obamagate” was a blanket term for the unsubstantiated claim that Obama led an illegal plot to undermine Trump. It is also one of the latest in a series of unfounded allegations that Trump has made against his predecessor.

Trump has often spread conspiracy theories about people he sees as political enemies. Amplify accusations of illegal or immoral behavior through tweets and comments, often with vague qualifiers: “people say.”

Only during the 2016 presidential election did Trump say the circumstances around 1993 the death of the Clinton administration’s attorney, Vince Foster, was “suspicious” and the claims about Hillary Clinton’s involvement were “serious”; he retweeted an article falsely claiming that Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were not eligible to run for president; and he cited the National Enquirer to affirm that Cruz’s father was related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Trump has come back to conspiracy theories about Obama over and over, and the allegations have become more serious in nature.

2011: Birtherismo

Trump amplified the false conspiracy theory by questioning where Obama was born, becoming the face of the racist “birth” movement. Obama, who was born in Hawaii, had released his live birth certification during the 2008 presidential campaign.

In a series of interviews, Trump said he had “doubts” about where Obama was born and suggested that his birth certificate could include his religion as a Muslim. (Obama is a Christian)

During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired on April 25, 2011, Trump repeated his claim that he had a team in Hawaii investigating Obama’s birth and said that he had been told that the birth certificate was “lost” or that it did not exist. “I’ve been told …,” Trump said repeatedly, but he didn’t want to say who did it. (CNN staff reporting on Obama’s birth certificate said they saw no evidence that Trump’s associates investigated the matter.)

Obama released his long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011. In his comments on the statement, Obama criticized those who perpetuated the conspiracy and the news cycle and said that the country “will not be able to solve our problems if we succeed distracted by carnival barkers and shows. ”

A few days later, at the 2011 White House Correspondents Association. At dinner, Obama addressed Trump by name.

“Now you can refocus on the issues that matter,” Obama said. Like, do we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

But Trump kept going back to the conspiracy theory. In 2013, he tweeted: “How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died today in a plane crash. All the others lived.

Trump cast doubt on where Obama was born until 2016, when he turned to a new false theory: Hillary Clinton had started the rumors.

April 2011: Obama School Records

Amid the birth controversy, Trump requested a different set of records – proof that Obama managed to get into college.

“I heard he was a terrible, terrible student,” Trump told the Associated Press in an April 2011 interview. “How is a bad student going to Columbia and then to Harvard? I am thinking about it; I am certainly investigating it. Let me show your records.

Trump continued to promote articles that challenged Obama’s academic record in 2014. In 2012 he tweeted an article by Breitbart, written by far-right activist Charles C. Johnson, which speculated that Obama had lower SAT scores than President George W. Bush. and benefited from the claim. action when he transferred to Columbia University. Trump also tweeted: “I wonder if @BarackObama ever applied to Occidental, Columbia or Harvard as a foreign student. When can we see your applications? What do they say about his birthplace?

In his 1995 memoir, “My Father’s Dreams,” Obama acknowledged that his mother was concerned about his “low” grades and had doubts about college. But, he wrote, he was not “failing” and ended up applying and being accepted at the university. He attended Occidental College for two years before transferring to Columbia, where he began to focus more on his studies, he told Columbia College Today in 2005.

“When I transferred, I decided to buckle up and get serious,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn’t socialize much. I was like a monk. ”

Obama’s record at Harvard has been well documented. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and was the first African American chosen to edit the prestigious Law Review. The choice was covered by the New York Times and led to a book deal to write his 1995 memoirs, according to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. As Obama was preparing to launch his presidential campaign in 2007, he was described by his professors at Harvard Law School as “brilliant” and “serious intellectual” in a Harvard Crimson article.

Like Obama, Trump has not released his academic transcripts.

After two years at Fordham University, Trump moved to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his BA in 1968. James Nolan, a former admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania, was a friend of Fred Trump Jr. and his brother Donald was interviewed at his request, he told the Washington Post last year. Nolan said it was “not very difficult” to enter the school at the time.

March 2017: a wiretapping complaint

As the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election increased in the first months of his presidency, Trump accused Obama of having tapped his phone lines at the Trump Tower.

The accusation spread through conservative media before reaching the White House and, finally, in a series of March 4, 2017 tweets from the president. “Terrible! I just found out that Obama had my” wires tapped “at the Trump Tower just before the victory,” he wrote in a post. “Nothing Found. This is McCarthyism!

James B. Comey, the director of the FBI at the time, asked the Justice Department to publicly reject the claim, and an Obama spokesman said the claim was “simply false.” Leaders of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said they had seen no evidence that Trump had been intercepted by Obama. Since then, the Justice Department has refuted the claim that Trump’s lines were intercepted.

In the days following Trump’s tweets, White House officials expanded the claim to suggest that the Obama administration had incorrectly spied on his campaign.

Trump’s allies took advantage of revelations that the FBI made numerous mistakes in a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether Trump’s associates and his campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election. In December 2019, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report severely criticizing the FBI for withholding information from the department about a former Trump campaign assistant suspected of working with Russian intelligence. However, Horowitz concluded that the FBI had a legal and objective justification to begin the investigation.

The report also said investigators found no evidence that the errors were influenced by political bias. But Trump claimed he had survived “an attempted overthrow.”

May 2020: ‘Obamagate’

On May 7, the Justice Department announced that it would drop its case against Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador to the US. USA Three days later, Trump launched a storm of storms against the media, criticizing his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and “the biggest political scandal in the history of the United States.”

Trump and his allies are pushing the theory that Obama and his administration officials illegally attacked Flynn as part of a conspiracy to undermine the President-elect.

The phone transcripts show that Flynn urged the Russian ambassador not to retaliate against the Obama administration sanctions and told him “we can have a better conversation” after Trump’s inauguration. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his conversations with the ambassador. Trump fired Flynn after just 24 days in office, then said his security adviser had been treated unfairly.

The president’s allies have pointed to two declassified documents released in May related to the Flynn investigation. In an email, then-national security adviser Susan Rice described a meeting of the Oval Office on January 5, 2017 in which Comey expressed concern to Obama about sharing information with Flynn due to her communications with the Russian ambassador. Another document shows that Vice President Joe Biden was among dozens of top Obama administration officials who could have been informed of Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador.

None of the documents show irregularities. Rice’s email claims Obama told Comey to proceed “according to the book,” and the document listing Biden as an official who learned of Flynn’s contacts claims that the national security agency approved the “unmasking.” from the former Trump adviser.

The Justice Department’s decision to try to suspend Flynn’s prosecution has led critics to question whether Trump was improperly influencing criminal proceedings in a politically charged case.

But Trump continued the “Obamagate” narrative, and a Senate committee headed by Trump’s ally, Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), is now investigating the Russia investigation.