“This was all Obama. This was all Biden. These people were corrupt. The whole thing was corrupt. And we caught them. We caught them.” – Trump.
Perhaps the most troubling – and dangerous – aspect of the current political conversation is the unwillingness of virtually every elected official and every media pundit to confront what “Obamagate” is obviously about, which is treason. Specifically, treason committed by the Obama White House in attempting to block and then overthrow the Trump presidency. Obamagate is about the failed attempt by President Obama and his appointees to use government intelligence agencies to spy on the Trump campaign and White House, to concoct a phony accusation of collusion with Russia against the president and then to obstruct his administration and overthrow him.
Semantic deceptions are the currency of political conflicts designed to take the public’s eye off the ball. So it’s no mystery as that Republicans, whom Democrats regularly slander as racists, xenophobes, Islamophobes and deplorables should be cautious around a word as volatile and subject to misrepresentation as “treason.” It doesn’t help that the last individual charged with treason was Tokyo Rose, a Japanese propagandist during World War II. In the intervening years, the ties of national loyalty have been so eroded, the idea of patriotism so demeaned by the political left, that the charge of treason was not filed against the Rosenbergs, Aldrich Ames, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, or many deserving others.
If all parties remain reluctant to name the threat embodied in Obamagate, it’s not only unlikely but also unreasonable to expect justice to be the outcome. Fortunately, at least one political figure is ready to do this. One can assume it was President Trump who provided Rudy Giuliani, with the license to speak frankly. “They wanted to take out the lawfully elected President of the United States,” Giuliani told talk show host John Catsamatidas, “and they wanted to do it by lying, submitting false affidavits, using phony witnesses — in other words, they wanted to do it by illegal means . . . What is overthrowing government by illegal means? It’s a coup; treason.”
This aggressive statement by the president’s lawyer is a sure guarantee that a reckoning is coming in the days ahead. But first there are the semantics. Responding to Giuliani’s accusation, law professor Jonathan Turley wrote: “No, James Comey Did Not Commit Treason.” According to Turley: “Giuliani is engaging in the same blood sport of using the criminal code to paint critics as not just criminals, but traitors. Where one can dismiss some of these charges as political hyperbole, Giuliani was sure to preface his remarks as coming from ‘an experienced prosecutor.’”
Technically, but in a very limited way, Turley is right. Treason is defined in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution in these words: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”
There’s a reason the Founders designed so restrictive a definition of treason. They were all guilty of it for rebelling against their king. This led to Benjamin Franklin’s famous quip: “We must all hang together or we shall all hang separately.”
But this legal definition of the crime is only one aspect of the issue, and in the end it is the less important one for understanding the significance of what has happened. There is also the common usage of the words “treason” and “traitor,” which speak to the moral dimensions of the crime. It is these meanings that provide a proper guide to the seriousness and scope of what Obama, Biden, Comey, Brennan, Clapper and the others involved actually did.
This is the Merriam Webster definition of treason: “1: the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family. 2: the betrayal of a trust: treachery.”
“To overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance” –is a pretty precise definition of what Obamagate is about.
Although early on, the outlines of this conspiracy were clear to dogged investigators like Congressman Devin Nunes, they have remained obscure to anti-Trump partisans. This is due to the protective wall created for the conspirators by Obama appointees at the Department of Justice, unprincipled Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and a corrupt news media that has redefined its mission to be that of a propaganda squad for the conspiracy itself. Consequently, it has taken nearly four years to recover the documentary evidence that might persuade an honest critic of the Trump administration of the crime the anti-Trump camp has committed.
Two recent actions have served to demolish the plotters’ protective wall and bring the true dimensions of Obamagate to light. The first was Trump’s appointment of Rick Grenell as acting Director of National Intelligence. Until then the transcripts of the impeachment hearings had been closed to the public by the Intel Committee chairman, Adam Schiff. This allowed Schiff to leak testimony damaging to the president and suppress testimony exonerating him. The full testimonies by high-ranking foreign policy officials had remained under Schiff’s lock and key for over a year. Grenell told Schiff that he would unlock the testimonies if Schiff didn’t, which is how they came to light.
What the newly released testimonies showed was that one Obama appointee after another when questioned by Republicans on the committee had said they had no evidence whatsoever that there was any collusion between Trump or the Trump team and the Russians. In other words, from the very beginning of the plot against Trump, the conspirators including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and the heads of the intelligence agencies knew that the charge of collusion – of treason – which they had concocted to destroy Trump was fraudulent. Despite this, they went ahead with the $35 million Mueller investigation that tied Trump’s hands in dealing with the Russians and spread endless false rumors about his allegiances, and in the end found no evidence to support the character assassinations the investigation spawned.
The second revelation was the result of an FBI declassification of hitherto hidden documents describing a White House meeting on January 5, 2017 – two weeks before the inauguration of the new president. The meeting was attended by the outgoing president and vice president, the heads of the intelligence agencies, the acting Attorney General and Obama’s outgoing National Security adviser Susan Rice. The subjects of the meeting were the targeting of General Michael Flynn – Trump’s incoming National Security Adviser – and the infamous Steele dossier which the Hillary campaign and the DNC had paid a former British spy to compile with information from the Russian secret police. The dossier was designed to discredit Trump and set up the Russia-collusion narrative. The targeting of Flynn involved unmasking an innocuous conversation with the Russian Ambassador which was then used to smear Flynn and get him fired. Shortly after the meeting the fact that Flynn was under investigation was leaked to the Washington Post – a felony punishable by 10 years in jail. This leak opened a floodgate of public accusations – backed by no evidence – that Trump and everyone close to him were agents of the Russians.
The secret war the Obama White House declared on Trump before he was even elected, was a war on America. Several years prior to the 2016 election, Obama had begun using the intelligence agencies to spy on his Republican opponents. This was a direct attack on the most fundamental institution of our democracy – elections. It was a much more destructive interference in the electoral process than anything attempted by the Russians. The subsequent cynical attempts to frame Trump as a traitor and then to impeach him for concocted offenses is without precedent. Because they were attacks on our democracy itself, Obamagate is the worst political crime committed against our country in its entire history. The culprits involved need to be exposed and prosecuted, so that – in the words of President Trump – this never happens to another American occupant of the White House.