News & Politics

Could Obama Be Called to Testify in the Flynn Unmasking Scandal?

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, attends the Nordic Business Forum business seminar in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday Sept. 27, 2018. (Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva via AP)

In the wake of recent developments in the Flynn unmasking scandal, President Trump urged Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to call former President Barack Obama to testify in a tweet Thursday morning.

“If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama,” Trump tweeted. “He knew EVERYTHING”

“Just do it,” Trump said directly to Senator Graham. “No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell released the list of sixteen Obama officials who made requests to unmask Michael Flynn’s name on an NSA report involving his conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Former Vice President Joe Biden was also on the list, though Trump has not called for Biden to testify… yet.

Another interesting name on the list of Obama officials who requested Flynn’s unmasking is Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. McDonough made the request on the same day as the infamous January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting where Obama discussed the Flynn wiretaps with FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, Vice President Joe Biden, and national security adviser Susan Rice. Can that really be a coincidence?

Obama’s direct knowledge of the details of Flynn’s wiretapped calls shocked then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Obama’s knowledge of Flynn being wiretapped raises significant questions about what Obama knew and when he knew it with regard to the attempt to railroad Flynn and prevent him from serving as Trump’s national security adviser. That Obama’s chief of staff made a request to unmask Flynn on the same day as this meeting raises even more questions. It is not clear whether the request was made before or after the meeting, but no one can argue that the request being made on the same day is just a coincidence. Did Barack Obama specifically ask McDonough to make the request, and to what end?

It’s become clear that the entire investigation of Trump and his associates was based on Russian disinformation, and that “the FBI used Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election as a pretext to investigate Donald Trump” and those around him. Obama’s direct knowledge of the Flynn wiretaps combined with his chief of staff requesting Flynn’s unmasking could mean that the leak of Flynn’s name to the media, which was illegal, came right out of the Oval Office.

This is obviously a question that needs to be answered, and perhaps the only way we’ll ever get these answers about the Flynn unmasking and other aspects of the scandal is it the key players testify under oath—especially Barack Obama. Unfortunately, Senator Graham has expressed reluctance in calling Obama to testify, saying he was “greatly concerned about the precedent that would be set by calling a former president for oversight.”

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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