If you’re wondering what the heck is #Obamagate and why you should care about newly fired-up right-wing allegations about an Obama “deep state” conspiracy out to get Trump, while a pandemic rages, read on.
An excellent piece this week in The Bulwark by Tim Miller does a nice job of explaining, debunking and sounding the alarm about Obamagate.
In October, Miller did a very deep dive into the minutiae of the conspiracy theory but he neatly summarized the matter for his most recent article:
Four years ago, there was a global conspiracy—comprised of President Obama, Vice President Biden, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director Jim Comey, much of the FBI, the DNC, a company called CrowdStrike, multiple foreign intelligence services, and Ukrainian oligarchs—to undermine Donald Trump by planting a phony conspiracy theory that he was colluding with the Russians to win the 2016 election. These deep state operators framed several top Trump officials, fabricated evidence, and spied on the campaign with the end goal of committing the biggest fraud in American history in order to derail Trump.
It’s ridiculous on its face, of course, because a) there’s lots of evidence that Trump colluded with Russia (“Russia, if you’re listening…” and the Mueller report, e.g.). But, as Miller explains, the conspiracy theory now rests on two things: 1) a January, 2017 meeting summary from Susan Rice stating, “From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.” 2) Handwritten FBI notes about the investigation into Michael Flynn: “What is our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”
But nobody forced Flynn to lie to the FBI about his contacts with Russia “so even if this were an attempted coup, it was one that could’ve been quite easily rebuffed by simply not lying to federal agents,” Miller points out. As for Rice’s notes, “to believe that President Obama was acting illegally—or even inappropriately—when being cautious about Russian intelligence requires either a view of the environment on January 5, 2017 that lacks all context about what happened in the 2016 election or having bought into the Trumpian alternative-history hoax, line, and sinker."
The thing is, Team Trump doesn’t care about the truth. Anyone who has watched Trump and his media mouthpieces spread falsehoods about the coronavirus pandemic knows that thousands of American deaths take a back seat to propaganda. And viewers believe the propaganda.
There’s a real question in my mind as to how much political good rehashing the Russian investigation will do Trump at this time, when more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and Americans know he is botching the job.
Regardless, this represents a terrible threat to our democracy, especially when Trump’s most trusted advisers on television are suggesting Obama and other officials in his administration should be arrested. Miller sums up the danger:
But underneath the palpable jealousy and the desperate attempt to change the subject to something, anything besides the slow-motion pandemic-management disaster that he is overseeing, is a very real effort by President Trump and his enablers to undermine the rule of law, rewrite the history of the 2016 election, and give a hall pass to a hostile foreign power for its interference in our election. Trump’s allies in the conservative media and the Justice Department are taking #Obamagate very seriously. This conspiracy theory is informing our foreign policy, millions in tax dollars are being spent in an effort that is going “full throttle” to prove that it is correct, and countless Americans are being fed a faux history involving a crime that supposedly “makes Watergate look small time.”
In that context, “President Fabricates Crimes By His Predecessor” should be front-page news, an unprecedented assault on the office of the president and our system of justice.
Indeed. #Obamagate is a complicated story, born out of the complicated Russia investigation, and made more confusing by the fact that Team Trump is gaslighting us about the whole thing.
But we cannot shrug it off as just crazy talk. Because that crazy talk is coming from some of the most powerful people in the country.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
The 2020 election is going to be a rerun of 2016. There’s no reason to suspect otherwise. Anyone who thought Hillary was a uniquely flawed candidate because she’s been a target of Republican smear efforts continuously since the ‘90s doesn’t get it. Any Democratic candidate will go through the MAGA conspiracy slime machine. Yes, that’s you too communist Soviet Union praising Bernie.
Trump’s DNI released ~2,000 pages of documents in an attempt to smear the Obama administration and thus Biden. Witness Trump’s White House and it’s advertising agency, Fox News, ranting now about these documents revealing the “unmasking” of Flynn, for example. The same group who are perfectly fine unmasking whistleblowers and leaking their names to the public – as long as they need to be stifled for exposing Trump’s corruption.
There’s no doubt Obama (and by extension Biden or any ’collaborator" Democrat who supported Obama) “lock him up” shouts coming at future Trump Nuremburg rallies.
Fox News is data-mining as usual. Even the FBI quote that has them outraged. As I’ve pointed out before, there’s a later note updating the situation where the agent says they better not try to catch Flynn in a lie to get him fired. See Fox mention that? See anyone query the path the FBI agents actually took? See anyone ask if even the worse case is unusual law enforcement procedure? I’m told it’s not. Where’s Fox News trying to free non-violent black males from prison who were ‘entrapped’?
What frustrates me isn’t Fox News being a raw pro-Trump propaganda factory. It’s in their mission statement. What is most frustrating is the rest of the sane media isn’t effective at all in debunking their crap. They report Trump’s lies dutifully and ponder it all with deliberative seriousness. Maybe they get around to sewing some doubt in their extensive analysis but it’s weak. Very weak.
I have no doubt but that the faithful will welcome any distraction that may help protect the Dear Leader from any consequences of his rank stupidity and incompetence. They will eagerly lap up anything just as a drowning person grabs at a floating 2×4 10 inches long.