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Donald Trump Says Surveillance Under Obama Administration Is The Real Story Here

Former President Obama’s intelligence-gathering operations should be the news media’s focus, rather than allegations that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere with last year’s election, the president argued Thursday morning.

“The big story is the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ of people that took place during the Obama administration,” Trump tweeted. Politico noted that the president has charged his predecessor’s team with the politically motivated unveiling of individuals’ identities in intelligence reports, designed to harm the Trump campaign. Former national security adviser Susan Rice has denied allegations that she unmasked anyone. The president also continues to accuse Obama of “wiretapping” Trump Tower during the 2016 race, despite the lack of evidence supporting the claim.

Trump is struggling to change the media’s narrative about his administration, which is reeling from the Russian scandal. Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, as well as the FBI and several congressional committees, are investigating multiple contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the campaign. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee sent out seven subpoenas, four of which were part of the effort to gather more information about allegations of collusion. The other three subpoenas, advocated by Republicans on the committee, concerned possible surveillance and unmasking.

Several U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered last year’s cyber attacks on computers used by Democratic National Committee officials and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. WikiLeaks released the hacked emails, which damaged the Democratic nominee’s campaign. Former campaign aide and national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, were forced to resign because of their links to Russia. Several others associated with the campaign had meetings or phone conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

CNN reported that two of the subpoenas target Flynn and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, each of whom has Russian connections. The committee wants them to testify and turn over personal and business documents. “We hope and expect that anyone called to testify or provide documents will comply with that request, so that we may gain all the information within the scope of our investigation. We will continue to pursue this investigation wherever the facts may lead,” Republican Rep. Michael Conaway of Texas and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who are leading the panel’s probe, explained in a written statement.

On Wednesday, Cohen vowed that he would refuse to comply with requests from the committee or other federal investigators. Flynn reportedly is willing to testify, though he has asked for immunity and suggested he might invoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.

Committee Chairman Devin Nunes signed the subpoenas demanding information from Flynn, former CIA Director John Brennan and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power about unmasking and surveillance during the Obama years. The California Republican’s action caused confusion because he had recused himself from the Russian investigation. Nunes has accused the Obama administration officials of revealing the identities of Trump associates and others who were mentioned in intelligence reports because of their contacts with Russian operatives.

Source: Politico
Photo: YouTube

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