Democrats Digging For Dirt Highlights The Case Against Obama’s Illegal Unmasking
of President-elect Trump’s Transition Team
Mere days after the November General Election, Democrats were howling about Trump’s transition and ethics.
For instance an ABC article titled “9 Questions Democrats Want Answered About Donald Trump’s Transition Team” hit the media waves on November 23, 2016.
What is particularly interesting in the article is the number and ferocity of the congressional Democrats who were determined to find dirt even before Trump took office. Basically, the article hoisted those Democrats by their own petards if we examine the information now after so many months and in light of specific information that was requested and just released.
“Since returning to work after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, congressional Democrats have taken or requested at least nine separate actions seeking to address their concerns about the Trump transition…It is traditional for members of the opposing party to request inquiries and information about the policies, and sometimes the personnel, of the White House, but given the unique nature of Trump’s incoming presidency, the congressional requests themselves are unusual and noteworthy. Most of them are from House Oversight Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, who has issued a request for information or an oversight hearing every weekday since Congress returned from its election recess on Nov. 14.
11/23: Warren, Cummings Request GAO Investigation Into Transition
11/22: Cardin Announces He Will Introduce Resolution Urging Trump Not to Violate Constitution
11/22: Cummings Requests Documents Related to Trump Foundation ‘Self-Dealing’
11/21: Carper Asks Federal Watchdog About Plans to Address Potential Conflicts of Interest
11/18: Cummings Requests Documents Related to Mike Flynn’s Potential Conflicts of Interest
11/17: Cummings Requests Committee Hearing on Russia’s Alleged Role in 2016 Election
11/16: Cummings Requests Information Regarding Kushner Security Clearance Request
11/15: Cummings Requests Information Regarding Security Clearance Requests for Trump’s Children
11/14: Cummings Requests Committee Review of Trump’s Financial Arrangements”
Obviously, these Democrats were throwing out every sticky ball possible hoping at least one would result in the nullification of a Trump presidency. Let me remind readers briefly Democrats rarely act alone nor without first planning strategy so these “requests” need to be looked at.
There ARE questions I have about their efforts. Backing up for just a moment to clarify–General Election was held November 8, 2016; the Electoral College vote was announced January 6, 2017; and Inauguration was January 20, 2017.
1- Why would Cummings even consider looking into a transition team and its efforts when the general election was literally only days old? What motivated such a request? It couldn’t have originated out of thin air.
2- Why would Cardin have introduced a resolution about violating the constitution again days after election? What possible motive might have fomented such a sweeping condemnation of someone moving forward to the Electoral College phase-other than the dirt already slung during the election cycle I mean?
3- How could Mike Flynn have been immediately questioned for accepting the position of security adviser on the same day that Cummins filed his request? There were obviously issues the Democrats hoped to use against him except he had undergone rigorous investigations as he was promoted upward for 35 years in the military. He was a registered Democrat (according to some). Obama nominated him for Defense Intelligence Director and he underwent an in-depth scrutiny in the Senate for that. He was ousted in 2014 some said because of his anti-radical Islamic fervor. So the question here is what led Cummins to question his fitness for the position and submit a formal complaint on the SAME DAY FLINT ACCEPTED THE APPOINTMENT and within mere hours of that acceptance?
4- In the case of Kushner, formal request of security clearance was submitted by Trump sometime just before November 18 when the media noted this. Government Executive posted an article November 18, 2016 “Why Donald Trump (and His Family) Won’t Be Subject to Security Clearance Background Checks” that may address some issues on security clearance. They stated flatly “The president of the United States is not subject to a security screening and does not hold a security clearance. Once elected, only time and inclination separate a new president from opening the vaults and knowing the truth about everything.” Qualifications for president are specific and meeting the eligibility requirements for a security clearance is not one of the requirements. It would take a change to the US Constitution for there to be any suitability or security requirements for the president. Presidential spouses, for instance, don’t undergo a security clearance background investigation but are absolutely privy to classified information (simply by knowing their spouse’s schedule!). So why would Cummins have even brought up security clearance?
Many of the names found in the list requesting information, I might add have long-standing histories in congress who should have known from the get-go the information below–after all many of them had been around for at least three if not more presidential election cycles.
So why bring any of this up now a year later? Because the Government Accountability Office released its report as requested by the Democrats on October 10, 2017 to the public. Its summary and information can be read in full HERE.
Increasingly over the last ten months we have been inundated with the facts of how Obama administration, and by right as the head of the administration Obama, not only used but abused NSA information against private citizens before and during the presidential election cycle. “UnMasking” has become the byword since that news broke. To have requested Mueller as special counsel investigating Russia interference is one thing but to have Mueller investigate the transition team and Trump or his family is highly unusual and while not necessarily illegal certainly unethical since the same had not been done on any president-elect teams in the last thirty years.
In the GAO report are several bits of information that refute the Democrat stance from those first nine “requests” and call into question how many of the Democrat congress members in particular Cummins (who has few original intelligent thoughts) would have come by the information needed in order to file those requests.
Here are a few important points in that report:
The change from one presidential administration to the next is a complex process requiring coordination among many parties, including the outgoing President, federal agencies, the President-elect, and a Transition Team. During a transition, the President-elect and his or her team begin to decide upon more than 4,000 political appointments and prepare to manage the federal government, an entity with more than 4 million civilian employees and military personnel and a federal budget of nearly $4 trillion. GAO was asked to examine five areas related to the Trump-Pence Transition.
Legal and organizational framework: The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (PTA), as amended, outlines the legal and organizational framework used during the Trump-Pence transition. The framework includes several mechanisms that guided this presidential transition. For example, a Federal Transition Coordinator was designated, federal funding was appropriated to carry out transition activities, and the outgoing administration negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the Trump-Pence Transition Team.
Applicable ethics provisions: The President-elect and Vice President-elect are not subject to the ethics provisions applicable to executive branch employees. A private citizen who becomes President-elect or Vice President-elect remains a private citizen until sworn in on Inauguration Day. Transition Team members are generally not federal government employees except for specified purposes unrelated to coverage under ethics-related provisions. However, Transition Teams may include members of Congress or federal agency employees on detail to the team who would continue to be covered by applicable ethics provisions. Once inaugurated, the President and Vice President are subject to some, but not all, of the ethics provisions applicable to executive branch employees. Under certain circumstances, the Department of Justice, Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Congress, and the courts may have a role in addressing potential ethics violations by a President or Vice President.
Office of Government Ethics’ information and services related to ethics: OGE provided information and services—such as training, briefings, and resources—to both major party campaign teams prior to the 2016 election to assist them in preparing for ethics-related aspects of the presidential transition. OGE made recommendations on the information and services it could provide to the Transition Team, which, according to OGE officials, were not requirements but were intended to expedite the ethics review process and establish a strong ethics program in the White House.
Funds for the presidential transition: As authorized by the PTA, fiscal year 2017 appropriations acts provided $9.5 million to the General Services Administration (GSA) for post-election activities of the recent presidential transition, including $2.5 million for the outgoing administration, and $7 million for the incoming administration. The funding provided for the President-elect and Vice President-elect is primarily available for 180 days after the inauguration.
According to GSA, as of July 31, 2017, expenditures made with funds available for the incoming administration for the recent post-election presidential transition totaled $4.4 million. According to GSA officials, as of July 31, 2017, none of the $1 million in funds available to the Trump-Pence Transition Team for appointee orientation activities had been obligated. The Trump-Pence Transition Team also reported collecting $6.5 million and spending $4.7 million in private funds on the transition through February 15, 2017.
Department of State’s information and services related to communication with foreign leaders: According to Department of State (State) officials, as private citizens before the inauguration, the President-elect and Vice President-elect do not have protocols for their communication with foreign leaders. During the transition, State provided the Transition Team with telephone support and written and oral briefing materials. For example, after Election Day 2016, the Operations Center within State collected incoming congratulatory calls from foreign leaders, provided the information to the Trump-Pence Transition Team, and arranged phone connections between the Vice President-elect and foreign leaders when requested. The Operations Center did not connect any calls between President-elect Trump and foreign leaders. State provided similar information and services during the Obama-Biden transition.
So from that information we have to assume that AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN ALL CALLS should not have been monitored in any way by NSA or other intelligence? Then why was there such requests done and the need for any information to have been generated that later became UnMasked?
This means, at least to me, that as private citizens just after the general election and before inauguration, ALL of Trump’s team members and family were NOT FAIR GAME for intelligence surveillance except any already under ethics rules. So if there was a case against any of them it seems to me that it would have to be thrown out in a court of law during a trial no different from any indicted felon with improperly or illegally acquired information.
Why then were nine requests that bordered heavily upon invasion of privacy then floating around by Democrats in their capacities as government officials BEFORE the ink was dry on the voting in the general election? Were they all in collusion with the Obama administration from March 2016 forward to make sure that a private citizen who happened to be named Donald Trump was under surveillance and unmasking?
If so, then unequivocably every one of these members should be brought up on ethics violation charges and dismissed from their positions along with the DNC and Hillary Clinton as the one who would most have benefited from the information. Also those who participated in such surveillance be they NSA management, judges who provided the agents the legal standing to perform this act of aggression against private citizens, and Obama as well as his several cabinet directors, administrators, and State Department personnel should also be placed on trial for their roles in this invasion of citizen privacy.
What I find totally inexcusable is the lack of congressional Republican response to bring to light the information that THEY AS CONGRESS MEMBERS and especially those of long-standing should have already been aware of — so that the citizens of this country would have been allowed to refute this information back during the November Democrat attacks upon a duly-elected, by popular vote and later by electoral vote, President.
I also believe, as most reasonably independent intelligent voters, that mainstream media was complicit in the cover-up or at least lack of investigative effort to get to the truth on such unmasking.
And that is the way I see it.