What did Barack Obama know about the leaking of classified information to Democratic senators by top officials to bolster their claim of Trump campaign collusion with Russia?
House Republicans are determined to find out.
The Washington Examiner reports Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina are seeking all the documents used by the Obama administration to brief lawmakers and campaign officials in 2016.
Americans already know some of the documentation, the largely discredited “dossier,” the opposition research document funded by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign that made wild and unsubstantiated allegations about Trump and Russia.
What Jordan and Meadows are seeking, the report said, is to learn about “the federal government’s actions in advance of the 2016 election.”
In a letter Monday, they ask Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the fact that the “Obama administration assured members that it was adequately addressing any attempted interference in the election.”
The GOP lawmakers now want the documents and communications used to brief Congress, those used to brief campaign officials and all communications between then-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others in the government about the briefing information.
The Examiner reported that Republicans and President Trump have pointed out that Obama “downplayed” the possibility of Russian interference until Trump won.
Since then, they contend, the Russia threat “has been overblown in order to delegitimize the president,” the report said.
It was reported only weeks ago that a GOP-led Senate committee was investigating meetings held in 2015 between two of Obama’s economic officials and Maria Butina, a Russian national who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to covertly influence U.S. foreign policy.
“The Senate Finance Committee has a constitutional responsibility to engage in vigilant oversight of entities and government agencies within its jurisdiction,” wrote Sens. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the committee’s chairman and ranking member, respectively. “A critical issue facing the committee and the country is the extent to which the Russian government engaged in efforts designed to undermine our political system and governmental policy through obfuscation and manipulation.”
WND reported at the end of 2018 that Washington watchdog Judicial Watch found, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, that the Obama administration was hurriedly distributing classified information to Democratic senators in support of claims of Trump campaign collusion.
Two sets of emails revealed at the time showed that the Obama State Department was trying to spread the collusion narrative before Trump was inaugurated.
“These documents show remarkable evidence of the non-stop, unethical effort in the Obama State Department to gather and send its own dossier of classified information on Russia in an effort to discredit the incoming Trump administration,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
One of the emails quoted an Obama official who said: “We made the deadline! Thank you everyone for what was truly a Department-wide effort!”
The email batches, 38 pages and 48 pages, show “classified information was researched and disseminated to multiple U.S. senators by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration,” Judicial Watch said.
Some were distributed on the day before the inauguration.
The information was obtained by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Robert Corker, R-Tenn.
Judicial Watch said the emails show the Obama State Department “urgently” gathered classified Russia investigation information to spread around.
The Baltimore Sun reported last year that “Obama officials were concerned … that the Trump administration would cover up intelligence once power changed hands.”
Judicial Watch said it obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information.”
One of the major triggers of the Russia probe was the “dossier” of unsubstantiated political dirt on Donald Trump produced by a British spy on the payroll of a company being funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The document was presented by the Obama Justice Department as evidence to a secret court to obtain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s investigation has obtained indictments and guilty pleas for process crimes and matters unrelated to the campaign but has produced no evidence of collusion.