Former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power kept up a steady flow of emails lashing out at then-President-elect Trump, strategizing on how to undermine his agenda and coordinating opposition to him during her last few months of Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, a new report reveals.
It was at a time when she was “unmasking,” or revealing the identities, of dozens of Trump campaign staff members caught up in federal surveillance of foreigners.
The American Center for Law and Justice said in a report: “Let that sink in: the same top-level Obama administration official reported to have made some 260 unmasking requests seeking surveillance information about the incoming president and his campaign team was simultaneously engaged in communications in which she consoled others over the election results, blatantly insulted the president-elect, colluded with the mainstream media, and actively sought out ways to undermine the new administration before it had even begun.
“We’ve all seen the reports of the unprecedented unmasking of U.S. citizens by senior Obama official, Ambassador Samantha Power, in the final days of the of the administration – to the tune of more than one a day. Now, through our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, we have unearthed evidence of significant political bias during the same time period she was unmasking Americans,” the report said.
ACLJ said the unmasking is well-documented. Most of Powers’ demands for names came between the time Trump was elected and he was inaugurated.
“What the media has not reported, but the ACLJ has since discovered through one of our FOIA lawsuits, is that the clear political – and personal – bias of Power against the incoming president and the conservative agenda led her to undertake efforts aimed at undercutting support for the new administration,” the report said.
One of Powers’ comments on a discussion about Trump’s green agenda was: “Lord help us all. How are you holding up?”
In another, she told an acquaintance, “We’re still reeling here, as you might imagine.”
She explained how she was promoting an Obama program to take in huge numbers of refugees “to show why the effort … should persist beyond the Obama administration.”
She lamented she wanted to discuss “what we are trying to defend, how we are consoling other countries.”
One note from her about Trump’s plans for the United Nations said, “This reflects the lack of understanding of history.”
Massive sections of the emails were censored by the government, and many more pages are taken up with reprinting a public speech she made.
Michael Goodwin at the New York Post wrote last September that it was time for Power to come clean about her unmasking ops.
She demanded the names of about 260 citizens whose conversations were caught up in federal spy operations.
“The first obvious question is this: Why would she need those names? Power had no operational duties for either intelligence-gathering or counterintelligence investigations, yet her requests apparently were approved,” Goodwin wrote.
“The second obvious question: what did Power do with those names? Having no clear official reason to get them, any use she made of them would be suspicious and possibly criminal.
“It is not a minor point that the names of some people who were involved in President Trump’s campaign or his administration were unmasked and then leaked to the anti-Trump media, which breathlessly reported them as evidence of collusion with Russia and even treason. It is not a stretch to wonder if Power was behind any of those leaks.
“I have no answers to any of these questions but, more troubling, neither does Congress nor the administration. Similarly, the media that was so hot and bothered when our intelligence gatherers used international banking regulations to follow terrorist financing, show zero concern when information collected on American citizens by those same techniques becomes public,” he wrote.
ACLJ said the information is found in documents obtained in a lawsuit against the State Department and NSA over the unmasking attempts of Power and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
“While the agencies have heavily resisted producing responsive documents, the limited documents produced by the State Department thus far paint a grim picture of the attitude and actions of Obama-era officials in the final days of that administration,” ACLJ said.
“The evidence we obtained shows email chains to and between Power and her counselor, Nikolaus Steinberg, just three days after the election in which Power actively discusses an ‘idea to seek maximum amplif[ication]’ of her politically biased messaging. Steinberg first raised the idea of ‘a useful (and somewhat cathartic) vessel to Channel some post-Trump messages about who we are.’ Minutes later Power responds, ‘Need to move out on 60 mins idea to seek maximum amplif. [sic] I can write Charlie or bill Owens if he’s still there.'”
ACLJ said that after a brief discussion “ensued over who would reach out, later that evening, Steinberg sent Power a ‘Draft pitch email’ for her to send to 60 Minutes, yet that draft is completely redacted. Subsequently, he suggested doing the pitch to ’60 Minutes’ or ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ on the issue of refugees, stating, ‘with the hook being the foreshadowing that Trump and company may try to undo all of this.’
“Minutes later, Power sent an email to Bill Owens, the Executive Editor of ’60 Minutes’: ‘We’re still reeling here, as you might imagine. … Not withstanding this, Tuesday’s results have given us an even greater sense of urgency to get our work done in our last few months. 70 good long days left!'”
The report said the Obama administration “was fully engaged in attempts to do whatever they could to undermine the conservative agenda and the will of the American voters. But it was far worse than we thought.”
“Power goes on in this November 11th email to pitch a 60 Minutes episode to help lay a public foundation to undermine the incoming administration. She wrote: ‘I am not sure exactly what I am pitching, but it seems there could be something interesting to show through USUN about this waning multilateral moment for the US, how we use these last two months, what we are trying to defend, how we are consoling other countries, etc. I wondered if there could be something in this that would hit home for viewers, even or perhaps especially those who support Trump. Let me know if you would like to brainstorm.'”
ACLJ said that in “one of the more disturbing emails, on December 14th, Steinberg replies to an email Power sent under the subject line ‘tom friedman today – see last para quote by larry diamond’ (this email appears from the production to contain no other information).”
“However, Steinberg’s reply to Power contains a December 9th article from The Atlantic by Larry Diamond entitled, ‘Russia and the Threat to Liberal Democracy,’ which furthers a narrative questioning the legitimacy of the election.”
At one point, she notes Trump’s comments on Israel and snarks, “So much for one president at a time.”
“This further confirms what we told you at the time, the Obama administration was intentionally attempting to undermine the state of Israel through a cowardly act at the U.N. Now we know, they were at the same time displaying their utter disdain for the incoming president,” ACLJ said.
“Power’s political bias was palpable and calls into severe question any suggestion that Power’s unprecedented unmasking requests against U.S. citizens was done with anything other that political animus.”