What’s the Deal with Michael Flynn, Trump, and ‘#Obamagate?’

Key Points:
  • Last Thursday, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss Michael Flynn’s criminal case.
  • Days later, the #Obamagate hashtag started trending across all major social media outlets, with some conservatives claiming the popular topic was suppressed by some platforms.
  • The hashtag is in reference to newly released documents, including declassified FBI memos showing agents’ efforts to entrap former national security adviser Michael Flynn along with clues that Barack Obama may have played a key role in creating “Russiagate.”
  • Republican pundits are claiming that the FBI orchestrated with Barack Obama’s White House to spy on and attempt to take down Trump’s campaign.

However it is you may feel about Donald Trump, you’ve got to admit one thing: he has a hell of a talent for redirecting the public narrative at the most crucial times. And – wow! – do the president’s rivals make it easy for him.

This week, the hashtag “#Obamagate” is garnering attention after declassified FBI memos and other newly released documents painted the former National Security Advisor’s criminal prosecution — and “Russiagate” as a whole — in a totally different light.

Flynn’s Dismissal and FBI Memos

On Thursday, May 7, Timothy Shea, interim US attorney for the District of Columbia, filed a motion with the court to dismiss the criminal case against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017.

Liberal pundits and politicians see the Justice Department’s decision as a naked abuse of power by Attorney General William Barr on behalf of the president, done to protect yet another criminal Trump acolyte from punishment.

For conservatives, the DOJ’s move exonerates Flynn of any wrongdoing; especially after newly declassified internal memos expose FBI agents as going into interviews with the General with the expressed purpose of trapping him in a lie about the details of a conversation he had with then-Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak.

The agents who interviewed Flynn about the call with Kislyak, ask in the FBI’s internal communication: “What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

The agents knew the truth regarding what happened on the call with the Russian Ambassador because they had the call transcript already. There was no new information for the FBI to obtain, proving their primary goal was to prosecute General Flynn, one way or another. Recent accounts suggest prosecutors secured his “guilty” plea, by threatening to prosecute his son on unrelated charges.

The Logan Act cited in the internal documents – enacted in 1799 – “criminalizes negotiation by unauthorized American citizens with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.” Only two people have ever been indicted or violating the Act – in 1802 and 1852, respectively – and it has never been used to convict an American.


“Russiagate” / “Obamagate”

Flynn’s guilty plea has long been a critical piece of evidence for media outlets and politicians pushing the “Russiagate” narrative.

In addition to the FBI’s memos, Congressional testimony from Shawn Henry, president of Crowdstrike — “ the firm behind the Russian email hacking allegation at the core of Russiagate” — has been released.

In the transcript, Henry admits that his firm “did not have concrete evidence” that Russian hackers took the DNC’s emails, despite years of media coverage implying the opposite.

With each additional bit of information released about the investigation into the current administration’s alleged collusion with Russian agents, the more it looks like nothing more than an orchestrated takedown attempt.

Republicans are suggesting that the “Russiagate” conspiracy went as high as the Oval Office, with President Obama using the bogus ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin to conduct surveillance on Hillary Clinton’s political opponent.

The covert spying on a rival campaign is what draws comparisons to Watergate – hence, “Obamagate.”

After the 2016 election upset, intelligence agencies kept the story alive using strategic leaks and innuendo to attempt to remove the president from office.

Now, as more evidence comes to light, the very accusations used to keep President Trump on the defensive since his election might become the incumbent’s greatest asset during a time when he might otherwise be vulnerable.

The 2020 Presidential Election

“Russiagate” has been the gift that keeps on giving for Donald Trump’s entire tenure in the Oval Office.

The previous administration colluded with the FBI to spy on a political rival; cable news networks generated years of salacious stories; — reintroducing a kind of neo-McCarthyism to our national discourse in the process – and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party used “Russians” to protect their relevance.

As long as Trump was conspiring with the Kremlin to defeat Hillary and undermine our democracy, nobody would ask what’s wrong with today’s DNC that would make it possible for a loudmouth reality TV host to swoop in and upset them. By continually hammering unsubstantiated rumors about Russia, they kept the conversation away from the decades of centrist politics that created the conditions in which a “Trump” could emerge.

Post-2016, the obvious strategic move was to shift “left” and embrace a real populist movement to counter the president’s “outsider” appeal – if the primary goal was to win elections, that is. However, DNC insiders and wealthy donors would much rather maintain their influence at the price of another four years of Trump. Hiding behind “Russiagate” bought them at least one more election cycle.

Unfortunately, for Democratic voters, it’s beginning to look as though they’ve been misled. Trump wasn’t wrong to yell “fake news” at the cable news media – which abandoned any sense of journalistic integrity these past three-and-a-half years.

Does that suddenly vindicate everything he’s done and make Donald a good president?

No, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s just one more example of an unnecessary media-contrived hoax resulting in the “resistance” handing the president a free “win.”

If liberal outlets hadn’t wasted everybody’s time with flimsy conspiracy theories and manufactured scandals, they could be nailing on the incumbent on issues of substance, like the administration’s lack of pandemic preparedness.

And under those circumstances, the criticisms might actually stick because they wouldn’t have used up every ounce of trust they had left promising “the walls were finally closing in” on Trump!!!

Instead, Republicans and Independents are going to read these declassified documents and come to the conclusion that he’s the victim of an extensive smear campaign. Now, whenever the media levies legitimate criticisms at him, all Trump has to do is point to the Russia reporting, and the credibility of his detractors is instantly brought into question.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if “#Obamagate” ends in charges being brought against corrupt intelligence officials, members of the previous administration, or the former president himself. No matter what information comes out, it’s unlikely Trump’s White House would pursue those goals.

His campaign will, however, use Flynn’s case and the media’s coverage of Russiagate to insulate himself from attacks. As these documents are analyzed, journalists and portions of the public will be researching potential wrongdoings by the Obama administration and the FBI rather than discussing what Trump could be doing better right now.

When the incumbent’s campaign isn’t using the new documents to go on the attack and redirect the narrative, the hysterical wave of neo-McCarthyism will be used to decimate the media’s credibility and highlight their bias’.

You couldn’t hand Donald Trump a more potent political weapon if you tried.

Will Cormier / Author

Will Cormier is a sports and political betting writer living in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. When he’s not wandering around the streets of the Arts District aimlessly, a lifetime of pessimism and paranoia has made Will perfectly suited for handicapping politics. Cormier tries to analyze current events as objectively as possible – a strategy that often enrages loyalists on both the right and the left. When he’s not covering major upcoming elections, Will enjoys writing about basketball, football, and MMA from a betting perspective. He also loves dogs, ice cream sundaes, the movie “Stomp the Yard,” and long walks on the beach.

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