ObamaGate isn’t a ‘distraction’ — it’s about outrageous abuses

Attorney General William Barr was damn right last week to blast the collusion hoax that began under President Barack Obama as “a grave injustice” unprecedented in US history.

Claims by Democrats like Joe Biden and the anti-Trump media that Obama­Gate is but a “distraction” are the true distractions.

During the 2016 election and for the first two years of President Trump’s term, sighed Barr, “the law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus of this country were involved in advancing a false and utterly baseless Russian-collusion narrative against the president.” They abused investigative and prosecutorial standards “to reach a particular result.”

Indeed, it was a cynical bid to defeat Trump in 2016 and then to boot him out of office, or at least seriously undermine his presidency — all based on the fake charge, ironically, that it was Trump who tilted the election by colluding with Russia.

The FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane, exploring links between Russia and Team Trump, in July 2016 on thin evidence (hearsay rumor) that agents soon determined was baseless. Yet the probe expanded.

In charge was Peter Strzok. When his then-mistress asked if Trump could possibly win, Strzok replied: “No, he won’t. We’ll stop it” — with the FBI probe as their “insurance policy.”

The bureau used false allegations from the Clinton-campaign-funded Steele dossier to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Trump officials, hiding key facts from the court.

It taped calls between incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador. The transcripts showed no wrongdoing — yet high officials used leaks to engineer Flynn’s exit. Newly released documents even suggest that Obama knew of the plot and (at least) didn’t object to the idea of hiding it from the Trump folks.

The farce continued for years under special counsel Robert Mueller. His team blackmailed Flynn into pleading guilty to lying to the FBI with threats to prosecute his son. Insiders leaked juicy tidbits to virulently anti-Trump media to stoke false notions of a Trump-Russia conspiracy — even though the FBI had nothing.

Trump foes like Rep. Adam Schiff and ex-intel honchos James Clapper and John Brennan fueled the hysteria: Even last year, Schiff insisted he’d seen “ample evidence of collusion.” Yet, as Barr noted, there was never any basis to the narrative.

The witch hunt upended the lives of innocents (Flynn and even private citizens), while fueling endless slurs against Trump, distracting him from real work. The abuses tarnished the reputations of the FBI and US intel agencies, while stoking political polarization and feeding public distrust of political leaders and institutions.

Those behind it should pay a steep price.

Barr blasts “attempts to use the criminal-justice system as a political weapon” and vows to block them “as long as I am attorney general.” Good. Real crimes should be prosecuted, but political abuse must be punished politically. It’s the only way to restore trust in government.

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