According to a report from Politico, senior Republican leaders -- including a few who are facing re-election in November -- are avoiding backing Donald Trump's obsession with an ill-defined "Obamagate," saying they have more important business to attend to at the moment.
During Monday's press conference-- that ended abruptly after the president battled with two female White House correspondents -- Trump was asked by the Washington Post's Phillip Rucker about his "Obamagate" tweet, and what exactly he meant by it, only to fire back, "You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”
With that in mind, GOP lawmakers were asked if they were inclined to investigate Barack Obama and no one showed much in the way of enthusiasm for going after the popular former president.
According to Politico, "Trump’s Senate allies on Monday stopped short of echoing Trump’s claim that Obama acted illegally when the Justice Department began probing incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn in late 2016. And they indicated that the Senate would pass on investigating the former president as they conduct their own investigations that could soon ensnare other senior Obama administration officials."
Pressed by reporters, Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, demurred.
“I’m not anticipating calling President Obama,” said Graham who has already announced his intention to look into the so-called "Russiagate" investigation.
Graham also added, "I think the president’s got a real good reason to be upset with the Obama people."
With Politico reporting, "Senate Republicans, however, sidestepped questions of whether the Justice Department should pursue criminal investigations against the former Obama officials, instead deferring to the ongoing investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tapped by Attorney General Williams Barr to probe the origins of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia," Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said the ongoing investigation is enough for the moment.
“That’s already being looked at, and we’ve got relevant committees up here that are talking a look at some of those issues too. I always think that at the end, eventually, the truth comes out, and I’m sure it will here too,” he explained.
One of Trump's most avid backers, Sen, John Cornyn (R-TX) said he was sympathetic to the president but agreed with Thune that Durham's investigation should be allowed to run its course.
“He [Trump] was accused of being a stooge for [Vladimir] Putin and then subject to the appointment of a special counsel,” Cornyn admitted “I understand why the president feels like he’s under assault. But I think we need to do our own independent investigation. Obviously, Mr. Durham is doing his. We’ll hear from them. But I think we have an important role to play in terms of congressional oversight.”
One Trump ally, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he had questions about both Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, but stopped short of calling for an investigation.
“I’m suggesting that any details that we can get on that Jan. 5 meeting ought to be pursued,” Grassley explained. “But it’s pretty clear that Obama had his fingers in this. And it’s kind of like, you don’t need to know much more, but just the fact that it’s public, that this came from the highest levels of the previous administration to give Flynn all of his trouble. And the Flynn problems were part of an effort that — the Democrats actually thought that they could cut short this presidency by probably 3½ years.”
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