‘Worst’ presidential transition ever: Report cites nice words but nasty ‘behind the scenes moves’

by WorldTribune Staff, May 14, 2018

Congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election have also uncovered details of how Obama loyalists set out to make the presidential transition a living hell for the incoming Trump administration.

President-elect Donald Trump meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Nov. 10, 2016. / Getty Images

Republican investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence the Senate Judiciary Committee found “a number of behind-the-scenes moves” by President Barack Obama’s team that “transformed a traditionally acrimony-free transition into a partisan transfer of presidential power,” Rowan Scarborough wrote in a May 13 report for The Washington Times.

Among the findings, Scarborough noted, were how “Obama appointees relied on Democratic opposition research to push Trump collusion claims into the public domain, and also leaked sensitive material to the news media, some of it grossly misleading.”

Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary to President George W. Bush, said Obama aides “made life extremely difficult for the incoming team.”

“In retrospect, we now know this is one of the worst transitions in American history,” Fleischer told the Washington Times. “On the surface, they played nicely and said nice things. But below the surface, it is clear several people in the Obama administration were doing everything they could to leave time bombs behind that would detonate all around Donald Trump and his administration.”

Fleischer pointed to an Obama operative who “unmasked” the name of Michael Flynn in a U.S.-intercepted call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The Obama person then leaked the call to The Washington Post, causing immediate upheaval inside the new White House, Scarborough’s report said.

“The Obama administration did many things in their power to harm the Trump administration as they got their feet on the ground,” Fleischer said. “All these things revolve around a tight circle that have access to the highest levels of intelligence, and they all have a common theme: Trump colluded, when there’s no evidence of it. But they were so spooked by what they saw, I think, it’s highly likely the Obama people rushed to conclusions and made life extremely difficult for the incoming team.”

Additionally, Scarborough noted, House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, California Republican, “is seeking access to Justice Department documents to determine whether the FBI inserted a spy into the Trump campaign.” Following are additional findings cited in the Scarborough report:

Opposition research dossier

The Obama Justice Department and the FBI hierarchy embraced the list of collusion charges leveled by former British spy Christopher Steele. He was paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to investigate Mr. Trump and his campaign. The FBI deployed the Steele dossier to obtain at least one wiretap on a Trump volunteer and made its charges a blueprint for questioning and targeting Trump associates. …

The FBI and Steele

The FBI hierarchy made a commitment to hire Mr. Steele and then a paid Democratic Party operative to continue investigating the president-elect and possibly the presidency. Mr. Steele told a Justice Department contact that he was “desperate” to sink the Trump campaign. The bureau fired him after he lied about talking to news media. …

Mr. Steele continues to investigate Mr. Trump via the Penn Quarter Group, run by Daniel Jones, a former senior staffer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat. Mr. Jones acquired $40 million from a small group of donors and has told the FBI that he is paying Fusion GPS and Mr. Steele.

Peter Strzok and Lisa Page

Perhaps no other narrative is emblematic of a “deep state” than the text messages of FBI lovers — Special Agent Peter Strzok and counselor Lisa Page. Mr. Strzok led the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. Ms. Page served as a senior counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired in March for lying under oath about a leaked news story. In 50,000 text messages during and after the election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page railed against candidate Trump and spoke of a mysterious “insurance policy” should Mr. Trump become president. …

James Clapper

President Obama’s top intelligence officer leaked dossier material to CNN at about the same time Mr. Comey privately briefed the president-elect on Jan. 6, 2017, about the dossier’s prostitution charge. Mr. Comey withheld from Mr. Trump the fact that the charge came from Democratic opposition research. In his memos for the record, Mr. Comey wrote that it was Mr. Clapper who urged him to brief Mr. Trump on the salacious material. … Mr. Clapper is a fierce Trump foe, having cast him as an agent of Mr. Putin. CNN hired Mr. Clapper as an analyst in August 2017. …

Sen. Harry Reid

As the campaign raged in August 2016, Mr. Brennan, the CIA director, briefed eight senior members of Congress on two issues: ongoing Russia election interference and his bombshell assertion that Trump people may be part of the conspiracy. Harry Reid, Senate minority leader at the time, promptly wrote an Aug. 27 letter to Mr. Comey, the FBI director, laying out the collusion theory without quoting Mr. Brennan. The letter was leaked to The New York Times and migrated into other media, marking what appears to be the first official Democratic charge of a Trump-Moscow conspiracy. …”

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