- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2020

President Trump said Friday that newly released House transcripts on the Russia investigation show that former President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden were complicit in undermining his incoming administration.

“What you’ve seen so far is incredible, especially as it relates to President Obama, because if anyone thinks that he and ‘sleepy Joe’ Biden didn’t know what was going on, they have another thing coming,” Mr. Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

The newly released transcripts from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s closed-door Russia hearings indicate that former Obama officials and Mr. Schiff were aware of the lack of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper testified in secret: “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.”

And former Obama National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice testified, “I don’t recall any intelligence or evidence to that effect.”

Mr. Trump said of his predecessor, “I believe he and Biden [were] involved in this also very much, and other people around President Obama were totally involved. You’ll see more and more things come out.”

The Justice Department on Thursday said it was dropping its prosecution of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian official during the presidential transition. Attorney General William P. Barr said there was no underlying crime for the FBI to investigate.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany used much of her press briefing on Friday to attack the FBI’s former leadership.

“The FBI exists to investigate crimes,” she said. “But in the case of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, it appears that they might have existed to manufacture one.”

She said the Justice Department’s latest action makes clear that the FBI “set out to interview General Michael Flynn when they had no predicate for any investigation of any crime.”

When Mr. Trump fired Flynn three weeks into his administration, he said Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and to the FBI about the extent of his conversations with the Russian official about U.S. sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said the FBI’s investigation “will go down as one of the greatest abuses of power by an administration in American history.”

“It’s time for Joe Biden to explain what really happened in that January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with [former FBI Director James] Comey, which occurred the day after [FBI agent Peter] Strzok intervened to keep the investigation into General Flynn from closing due to a lack of any evidence,” Mr. Parscale said. “The corrupt media will do its best to cover up this scandal, but the Obama-Biden officials responsible for these misdeeds must be held accountable.”

The president said he hopes former Obama administration officials will be held accountable.”They made it a very, very dangerous situation,” Mr. Trump said. “These are dirty politicians and dirty cops, some horrible people. Hopefully they’re going to pay a big price someday in the not-too-distant future.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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