On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s officials declassified the full text of the email former ambassador and national security official Susan Rice sent herself on the day of Trump’s inauguration, according to Politico.
But several reporters and commentators said that key elements of the text contradict Trump’s conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama sought to corruptly influence the FBI into fabricating charges against incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and derail his administration — a narrative he and his allies have referred to as “Obamagate.”
Ah. The smoking gun on “Obamagate” is him telling the FBI to “follow the rules” on the Russia investigation, which the FBI appropriately kept quiet while publicly kneecapping Hillary Clinton. https://t.co/PUcfp3Voet
— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) May 19, 2020
A tale of two presidential meetings with Comey:
One where Obama asks him to do everything “by the book.”
Another where Trump says “I expect loyalty” and asks him to drop the Flynn investigation.
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) May 19, 2020
Unclear why this was redacted last week but seems that in order to advance their preposterous fake conspiracy the Trump Intelligence apparatus originally redacted the portion of the email where Obama says Comey should go by the book unless more damning intel comes to light. https://t.co/PXOe2vOxWY
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) May 19, 2020
This seems to look favorable for the Obama crew, no? Insisting things go by the book, discussing the obvious concerns re: Flynn & Russia, etc.
Thoughts? How will this be framed in Obamagate world? https://t.co/ljWoDeSLDH
— Isaac Saul (@Ike_Saul) May 19, 2020
On Flynn’s troubling calls with Kislyak, Obama wanted to be sure “every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book,’” Susan Rice said in an email memorializing the WH meeting, attended by Biden. This is bad somehow? https://t.co/D36ZGqTLN8
— Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) May 19, 2020
“The email, which memorialized the meeting two weeks after it happened, said Obama wanted to be sure “every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book,”” reported Betsy Woodruff Swan. “’The president stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective,’ the email continued. ‘He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.'”
Obama instructed his staff that “our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book”
Trump brazenly directs his law enforcement officials to investigate his opponents and protect his friends https://t.co/CMZLTPRfw1
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) May 19, 2020
This stands in contrast to the idea that Obama wanted the DOJ to politically target Trump or particularly disfavor his allies.
Rice also wrote that then-FBI Director James Comey “worried about sharing classified information with the Trump team because of incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn’s frequent conversations with the Russian ambassador,” although Comey had no proof Flynn was giving them classified information.
Despite all of this, according to Politico, “Trump and his allies … pointed to the document as evidence to claim the Obama administration illegally spied on his campaign. Some of those claims were not particularly subtle. .JOE BIDEN IS GUILTY,. read the subject line of a recent Trump campaign fundraising email.”