This week delivered two bits of very bad news for the Obama Administration: Top Republican lawmakers formally requested the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Justice Department’s conduct in 2016 and 2017, and long-withheld documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal will finally be released to Congress.
It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch.
The public behavior by several Obama officials since Donald Trump’s election has been shameful and shameless. It would be easy to write it off as sour grapes, to treat them like a sad group of ex-wives grumbling about why they got dumped. But their actions are more insidious—and unprecedented—than that. Bitter about their unexpected defeat in November 2016 and terrified that their Trump-Russia conspiracy scheme will be exposed in full by Congress, Obama loyalists have been working overtime to discredit the president, smear Republican lawmakers, and keep the focus on Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.
Just days after Trump won the election, Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary, openly began to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory and peddled Trump-Russia conspiracy tales to an eager, Trump-hating press corps. Obama holdover Sally Yates refused to enforce Trump’s travel ban in her position as acting Attorney General. (She is now emerging as a central figure in the case against Michael Flynn.)
Loretta Lynch, Obama’s last attorney general, recorded a video advocating violence to resist the new administration, comparing it to other great American struggles. “It has been people, individuals, who have banded together, who simply saw what needed to be done, who have made the difference,” Lynch said. “They’ve marched. They’ve bled. Yes, some of them have died. This is hard. Every good thing is.”
Former FBI director James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, routinely tweets cryptic—if not childish—political messages aimed at the president and Congress while defending the agency whose credibility he helped degrade:
All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.
— James Comey (@Comey) February 1, 2018
And ol’ Uncle Joe Biden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo last month that Trump is a “joke.”
As congressional investigations close in on uncovering possible corruption related to the handling of the Christopher Steele dossier in the waning months of the Obama administration, former top officials are now ratcheting up their criticism of the president. Obama’s so-called “wingman,” former Attorney General Eric Holder, seems particularly vexed lately. He has called for the abolition of the Electoral College, referred to Trump as “an orange man,” and blamed him for empowering neo-Nazis. In an interview with Rachel Maddow last month, Holder suggested that the president should be charged with obstruction of justice and claimed “any one of my kids would make a better president than Donald Trump.” WIthout any sense of irony, the only attorney general to have been held in contempt of Congress blasted Jeff Sessions for not protecting his people at the Justice Department from political pressure. (Stop laughing. No, go ahead.)
But it was his appearance last weekend on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” that might backfire on Holder. When Maher asked for his response to a backhanded compliment Trump made about him, Holder smugly responded: “The difference between me and Jeff Sessions is that I had a president I did not have to protect.” He repeatedly defended Obama as clean and scandal-free—”I think he (Trump) actually believes that there were things that were done wrong or illegally by Barack Obama and it comes from the Fox [News] blogosphere. It’s simply not true.” (The former president himself is peddling that myth. At a private event last month, Obama insisted that his administration “didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.”)
Holder’s criticism might’ve been the last straw for Sessions as he announced Wednesday that his department will hand over documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious to the House Oversight Committee, ending “six years of litigation arising out of the previous administration’s refusal to produce documents requested by the Committee.” (It was Holder’s refusal to release those documents that led to his contempt charge.)
But the man who is spinning the hardest right now is John Brennan, Obama’s former CIA director. Not only are Brennan’s malicious remarks totally inappropriate for someone who once served as the nation’s top intelligence officer, he seems desperate to put up a public defense of his role in disseminating the dossier. It’s probably not a coincidence that Brennan just started tweeting a few months ago, as questions about his involvement in peddling the Steele dossier to lawmakers in 2016 and the unmasking of Trump campaign associates started to surface. (His Twitter bio says he is a “nonpartisan American.” LOL.)
Nearly every tweet has been a personal attack on the president: He has compared Trump to a “narcissistic, vengeful autocrat,” called him a “deeply flawed person,” and “small, petty, and banal.” He’s defended Mueller’s investigation and said it is “implausible” that the Russians didn’t sway votes in 2016. But, like Holder, Brennan may have kicked the hornet’s nest too many times. On February 1, Brennan tweeted this:
I had many fights with Congressional Dems over the years on national security matters. But I never witnessed the type of reckless partisan behavior I am now seeing from Nunes and House Republicans. Absence of moral and ethical leadership in WH is fueling this government crisis. https://t.co/KEUrsgtqhp
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) February 1, 2018
A few days later, on “Meet the Press,” Brennan accused Devin Nunes, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, of “abus(ing) the office of the chairmanship.” Two weeks later, Nunes sent a letter to several current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials asking questions about how the Steele dossier was used in obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. Brennan was on the list.
Since then, Brennan has been on a full-fledged propaganda tour, vilifying the president in a truly despicable manner. In an outrageous interview with MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on March 2, Brennan called Trump, “unstable, inept, and unethical.” He said he has “serious, serious doubts” that Trump will ensure the country is “safe, secure and prosperous in the future.” He also went after Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and claimed the president was not reading national security information. The man who did basically nothing to stop so-called Russian election interference for years repeatedly blasted the Trump administration for not moving quicker to protect us from future incursions.
Then, the former CIA director tweeted this to the president:
This tweet is a great example of your paranoia, constant misrepresentation of the facts, and increased anxiety and panic (rightly so) about the Mueller investigation. When will those in Congress and the 30 percent of Americans who still support you realize you are a charlatan?
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) March 5, 2018
Brennan might want to take a break from spouting off on Twitter and friendly cable news programs and practice his legal defense in private. In a fierce takedown in Tablet magazine, writer Lee Smith said Brennan is “having trouble keeping his Trump-Russia stories straight.” (Not shocking considering his unreliable relationship with the truth.)
Smith questioned Brennan’s recent claim on “Meet the Press” that he didn’t see the dossier until December 2016:
That makes no sense. In July, Brennan alerted the FBI to the possibility that Russia is seeking to interfere in the presidential election. In August, he briefed the White House and then congressional leaders on Russia’s attempts to influence the election for the purpose of putting Trump in the White House. In December, the CIA assessed that Russia had done exactly that. But for five months, Brennan didn’t bother to look at a document widely discussed for months by the Washington press corps that deals explicitly with the issue that has the director of the Central Intelligence Agency setting off fire alarms at the FBI, Congress, and the White House?
As the Trump-Russia plotline starts to unravel and the real culprits—political operatives disguised as law enforcement agents, intelligence community professionals and Obama cabinet members—are fingered, we can expect to hear more vituperation from these folks. What’s the old saying about protesting too much?
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