The Obama camp’s disingenuous disavowals on FISA surveillance of Trump

Andrew C. McCarthy III is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others. The defendants were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and of planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He resigned from the Justice Department in 2003. He is a contributing editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.”

Phenomenal credentials and credibility, indeed.

McCarthy — in a National Review article weighing in on the furor surrounding Trump’s wiretapping allegation against Obama — writes that “President Trump’s early Saturday morning tweeting has exploded to the forefront an uncovered scandal” that “the Obama Justice Department and the FBI investigated associates of Donald Trump, and likely Trump himself, in the heat of the presidential campaign.”

According to McCarthy, it reportedly started prior to June, 2016, when the “Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions.”

Preliminary investigations, however, “indicated that there was nothing criminal involved.” But instead of closing the case, “the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA),” which “allows the government, if it gets court permission, to conduct electronic surveillance (which could include wiretapping, monitoring of e-mail, and the like) against those it alleges are ‘agents of a foreign power.'”

McCarthy concludes:

To be clear, there does not seem to be any evidence, at least that I know of, to suggest that any surveillance or requests to conduct surveillance against then-candidate Donald Trump was done outside the FISA process.

Nevertheless, whether done inside or outside the FISA process, it would be a scandal of Watergate dimension if a presidential administration sought to conduct, or did conduct, national-security surveillance against the presidential candidate of the opposition party. Unless there was some powerful evidence that the candidate was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power, such activity would amount to a pretextual use of national-security power for political purposes. That is the kind of abuse that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation in lieu of impeachment.

Moreover, it cannot be glossed over that, at the very time it appears the Obama Justice Department was seeking to surveil Trump and/or his associates on the pretext that they were Russian agents, the Obama Justice Department was also actively undermining and ultimately closing without charges the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton despite significant evidence of felony misconduct that threatened national security.

This appears to be extraordinary, politically motivated abuse of presidential power.

The entire article (over 1,400 words) needs to be read to get the full, riveting and informative story of a developing scandal that, if supported by irrefutable evidence, could indeed turn out to be “of Watergate dimension.”