News & Politics

Obama Officials Had No 'Empirical Evidence' of Trump-Russia Collusion, Intel Transcripts Show

FBI Director James Comey, left, accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, right, speaks at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on world wide threats on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Comey says Apple had been "very cooperative" in the dispute and that there have been "plenty" of negotiations between the two sides. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Transcripts of interviews from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia reveal that former Obama administration officials had no “empirical evidence” of collusion. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff released the documents under significant pressure from Republicans. The transcripts show that Obama officials never saw evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy, despite alleged concerns and suspicions about these things.

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” testified former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2017. “That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence. … But I do not recall any instance where I had direct evidence.”

“I am not in possession of anything—I am not in possession and didn’t read or absorb information that came from out of the intelligence community,” said former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, in response to the same question.

“To the best of my recollection, there wasn’t anything smoking, but there were some things that gave me pause,” said Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice with regard to conspiracy. “I don’t recall intelligence that I would consider evidence to that effect that I saw…conspiracy prior to my departure.”

When asked if she ever saw evidence of coordination, she answered,  “I don’t recall any intelligence or evidence to that effect.” She gave the same answer when asked about collusion.

Obama’s former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also had nothing. “I wouldn’t have received any information on any criminal or counterintelligence investigations into what the Trump campaign was doing, so I would not have seen that information,” he said. “I saw indications of potential coordination, but I did not see, you know, the specific evidence of the actions of the Trump campaign.”

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she did “not recall that being briefed up to me.”

When asked about the accuracy and legitimacy of the Steele dossier, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe admitted they were never able to prove its legitimacy. When asked what was the most “damning or important piece of evidence in the dossier that” he “now knows is true,” McCabe replied, “We have not been able to prove the accuracy of all the information.”

The lack of evidence found by Obama officials, as well as the lack of verified claims in the Steele dossier, raises significant questions as to why an investigation into Trump, which included surveillance of him and his associates, was allowed to happen or continue. Worse yet, documents reveal that Barack Obama himself was aware of the details of wiretapped conversations of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, indicating that Obama was aware of the bogus investigation that involved a presidential candidate from an opposing party.

Once again, Trump has been proven right. Trump-Russia collusion was a hoax, and top Obama administration officials knew it, too.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis

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