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Was Obama involved in efforts to infiltrate the 2016 Trump campaign?

Former US President Barack Obama exits the stage after speaking at the MBK Rising! My Brother's Keeper Alliance Summit in Oakland, California on February 19, 2019. (AFP photo)

Republican Senator Rand Paul has said that it should be investigated whether then-President Barack Obama was involved in efforts to infiltrate the Trump campaign for the 2016 election.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is one of several Democratic senators running for president, on Thursday tried to get unanimous consent for the Senate to pass a resolution calling for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report to be made public.

But Paul, a senator from Kentucky, blocked the nonbinding resolution because Klobuchar would not include provisions calling for the public release of communications between several Obama-era officials including Obama, former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan. 

"We need to know was there malfeasance, was there misuse of power, did President Obama's administration get involved in an election to infiltrate the Trump campaign to trap them? … We need to know that," Paul said.

 "What we need to discover and we do not yet know: Was President Obama involved?" he asked.

Republican Senator Rand Paul

Any one US senator can request that any resolution be approved, but any one senator can also block the request, because it requires the sign-off of every senator.

Klobuchar’s request argues there is “overwhelming public interest” in the government releasing the Mueller report, and it demands the Justice Department fully release the report to Congress and to the public “except to the extent the public disclosure of any portion thereof is expressly prohibited by law.”

Last week Muller concluded his about two-year long investigation into the alleged links between the 2016 Trump election campaign with Russia and handed over his report to the Justice Department.  But Attorney General William Barr sent a four-page summary of the report to the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Sunday.

Barr, a Trump appointee, said in the summary that Mueller’s team had concluded that no one in Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.”

However, Mueller’s findings left unresolved the issue of whether Trump obstructed justice by undermining the investigations.

Democrats have rejected the determination made by the Justice Department on the evidence presented by Muller following his extensive investigations.

They said they wanted to see Mueller’s report for themselves as they launch congressional investigations of their own into the 2016 election and Trump’s business and financial dealings.

Democrats accused Barr of putting his own finding on Mueller’s report, saying that the special counsel did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice.

Senator Paul had previously warned that he would block the resolution. 

"I don't care whether it's a Democrat president or a Republican president, we should not waste the time of the entire country sending spies into campaigns, making false accusations and tying the country in knots for two years," Paul said from the Senate floor on Thursday.

"We will agree to see the Mueller report as long as the other side will agree to show us the communications that took place in deciding to promote this fake allegation against the president and whether there was misuse of their office," he continued. "We based this investigation on a lie, we should investigate who the liars were."

Mueller, a former FBI director, had been examining since May 2017 whether Trump’s election campaign colluded with Moscow to try to influence the 2016 presidential election and whether the Republican president later unlawfully tried to obstruct his investigation.

US intelligence agencies claim Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and helping Trump.

Both Trump and Russia have repeatedly denied the accusations. Trump has sought to discredit the investigation, calling it a “witch hunt” and accusing Mueller of conflicts of interest.

'Time for Congress to investigate' Obama

On Wednesday, Senator Paul said that lawmakers should investigate Obama, saying that he could have played a role in the so-called Russia investigation.

The senator said that Congress should probe the origins of the two-year long investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties with the Trump campaign, suggesting that Obama was involved in the FBI probe that predated it.

"I agree with @kimguilfoyle Time for Congress to investigate. What did President Obama know and when? How did this hoax go on for so long unabated?" Paul asked.


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