What the Obamagate Scandals Mean and Why They Matter

Article CAIRCO note: 
An excellent summary of Obamagate crimes and scandals
Article author: 
Charles Lipson
Article publisher: 
Real Clear Politics
Article date: 
May 28, 2020
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 
Amid the flurry of details about spying on Michael Flynn, lying to secret courts about Carter Page, leaking classified documents, and more, it’s easy to get lost in the muck. It’s important to stand back, identify the worst abuses, and explain why they matter for American democracy. These abuses didn’t simply follow each other; their targets, goals, and principal players overlapped. Taken together, they represent some of the gravest violations of constitutional norms and legal protections in American history....
 
Some call this debacle “Obamagate” since the key officials were his appointees and the White House was directly involved. But they got plenty of help. Some came from the permanent bureaucracy, especially in law enforcement and intelligence. Still more came from the mainstream media, which served as conduits for classified leaks aimed at Trump, his campaign, and then his presidency. For over three years, the media’s top story was “Trump colluded with Russia.” When that imploded after the Mueller Report, they moved on to impeachment....
 
The entrenched elites behind these scandals are the Swamp at its most sulfurous. They spied illegally on Americans and used powerful tools of government to damage the party-out-of-power, its outsider candidate, and then his new presidency. It’s worse than a single surveillance scandal. It’s three huge ones, intertwined. All were abuses of power. Some were crimes.
 
Scandal No. 1: Massive, illegal surveillance of American citizens, using the database of the National Security Agency...
 
Scandal No. 2: Spying on the Trump campaign...
 
Scandal No. 3: Covering up this spying, continuing it during the new administration, charging that Trump was not legitimately elected, and impeding his presidency with major investigations, based on false charges...

Conclusion: What do these three scandals mean, individually and collectively? The first, accessing the NSA database, is the largest violation of basic constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure in American history....

The second, surveillance of the Trump campaign, involves illegally using of the government’s most powerful tools of national intelligence and law enforcement against an opposition political party. These crimes directly attack two pillars of constitutional democracy: (1) elections should be free and fair, not corrupted by the party in power, and (2) law enforcement and intelligence should never be used as partisan instruments.
 
The third scandal attacks yet another pillar of constitutional democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a new administration....