Republican-driven investigative reports on Russia have provided an unanticipated view into secret anti-Trump maneuvers by Obama loyalists during the span of the presidential transition.
Congress set out in early 2017 to investigate Moscow election interference and any coordination with the Donald Trump campaign.
As the collusion avenues led to dead ends, Republican investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committee traveled on a new lane. They discovered a number of behind-the-scenes moves that they said transformed a traditionally acrimony-free transition into a partisan transfer of presidential power.
Among the findings: Obama appointees relied on Democratic opposition research to push Trump collusion claims into the public domain. They also leaked sensitive material to news media, some of it grossly misleading.
In addition, 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.
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,” Mr. 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.”
He pointed to an Obama operative who “unmasked” the name of retired Army Lt. Gen. 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.
Mr. Fleischer also talked of a stream of Obama press leaks about supposed Trump-Russia collusion, a charge that remains unproven, at least publicly....“The Obama administration did many things in their power to harm the Trump administration as they got their feet on the ground,” Mr. 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.”At the White House, partisanship generally recedes during a transition.Not at the Obama White House. Press secretary Josh Earnest continued airing the Hillary Clinton campaign themes by bashing Mr. Trump during daily briefings.“It was the president-elect who, over the course of the campaign, indicated that he thought that [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin was a strong leader,” Mr. Earnest told reporters on Dec. 12, 2016. “It was the president-elect who indicated the potential that he would withdraw from some of our critically important NATO commitments. It was the president-elect who refused to disclose his financial connections