FACTS

    At the request of two Republican Senators, a document containing the names of Obama administration officials who sought to “unmask” Trump and his associates was disclosed by the Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell. Joe Biden’s name is included on the list. This information adds to what President Trump is referring to as “Obamagate,” which some believe was a plan to sabotage President Trump’s administration even before he was elected to office.

    RIGHT

    The Right believes the Obama administration engaged in misconduct including unfounded and illegal spying on Trump and his associates, one of whom was Michael Flynn. As supporting evidence, they point to previous instances in which Obama-era officials exhibited similar misconduct and ask the question, “What makes anyone believe these people wouldn’t create a pretext to spy on the opposition party?” It has been pointed out that Obama and former Director of Intelligence James Comey based their Flynn investigation on the “Logan Act” – a phony act by which no one has ever been convicted. “The use of the Logan Act against the incoming national security adviser would have been not only patently unconstitutional but positively ludicrous,” wrote constitutional law-professor Jonathan Turley. To the Right, this supports their belief that the Obama administration had no basis for an investigation in the first place.

    LEFT

    The Left believes this “scandal” is Trump’s attempt to distract from what they consider his failure in the handling of the coronavirus crisis, among other things. They argue that while privacy laws require concealing Americans’ names on classified intelligence reports, senior officials can request “unmasking” them, and do so as a standard and necessary part of their job. They claim that if Obama had truly wanted to expose Trump and meddle with his election, he would have had ample information and plenty of opportunities to do so. However, “Obama meekly held off rather than risk appearing to manipulate intelligence to help his preferred candidate,” wrote political commentator Jonathan Chait. It is also thought that Trump’s accusation is a desperate and idiotic move considering Obama’s popularity. 

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