The Corner

Politics & Policy

Twenty Questions for Barack Obama

Former president Barack Obama speaks during a rally for New Jersey Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy in Newark, New Jersey, October 19, 2017. (Mark Makela/Reuters)

Over the last two weeks, considerable evidence has been released related to what appears to be a major, historic political scandal. The declassification of Susan Rice’s CYA email to herself alone raises a multitude of questions. Yet the mainstream media, who’ve suddenly become invincibly incurious about Russia-related matters, have posed not one question, either directly or indirectly, to the person to whom all the players in the scandal reported: Barack Obama.

Since the Senate Judiciary Committee has signaled that the former president won’t be called to testify, it falls to the media to get some answers. But members of the media have avoided questioning Obama on the entire Russia issue for the last three years.

Maybe these reporters are suffering from a form of writer’s block. But this isn’t a heavy lift. Let’s help them with a few preliminary softballs:

The August 5, 2017 email from Peter Strzok to Lisa Page states, “The WH is running this.”

  • What is “this”?
  • Who in the WH was running it?
  • Was it at your direction?
  • Did the person report to you?
  • What did that person report and when?

The August 8, 2016 text from Page to Strzok  asks, “He’s not ever going to be president, right?” To which Strzok replied, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

  • Was the White House “running” an operation to stop it?

On August 15, 2016, Strzok texted page, “I want to believe the path you threw out there in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

  • Since the White House was “running this,” and given the recently released House Intelligence transcripts show your administration’s top officials had no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, what, precisely, constituted the “insurance policy?”

On September 2, 2016, Page texted Strzok, “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

  • Did you tell Page and/or those directing her you wanted to know everything they were doing?
  • If so, what were you told?
  • Did they tell you about the “insurance policy”?
  • The FISA applications?
  • The Steele dossier?

Top members of your administration testified under oath that they had no evidence of Russian collusion, yet repeatedly said the opposite to national media. This embroiled the nation in three years of investigations, division, and may have had an impact on the outcome of elections. Given the magnitude of the ramifications to the country as a whole:

  • Did you insist that these individuals correct the record?
  • Why didn’t you correct the record?

Susan Rice’s brief January 20, 2017 email to herself used the phrase “by the book” three times.

  • Is withholding national-security information from an incoming administration by the book?
  • Is profligate unmasking of members of an incoming administration by political actors by the book?
  • Are invalid FISA applications by the book?
  • Was the interview of General Flynn by the book?
  • Was the handling of the Flynn 302 by the book?
  • What book were you using?

These are just the easy ones. Randomly selected. More to come.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Five Thoughts on the George Floyd Story

After a night of riots, looting, and arson in Minneapolis to protest the police killing of George Floyd, five thoughts spring to mind: One: It is always hazardous to draw sweeping conclusions about society from individual criminal cases. Every individual case involves individual facts, and those facts often ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More
White House

There’s No Fix for Trump’s Bad Tweets

Whether social media have been good or bad for society is an open question. Whether social media have been good or bad for President Trump isn’t as difficult to discern. For even the most sober-minded and introspective figures, Twitter can serve as a dangerous temptation. For a man as capricious and mercurial ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More

The Need to Discuss Black-on-Black Crime

Thomas Abt’s book Bleeding Out (2019) has garnered a fair amount of attention for its proposals to deal with gun violence in mainly black urban neighborhoods. The entire focus of the book is on interventions in high-crime locations to stem the violence, including: hot-spots policing, working with young males at ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

The Spread of the Debt Virus

The current U.S. budget deficit could soon exceed a record $4 trillion. The massive borrowing is being driven both by prior budget profligacy and by a hurried effort by the Donald Trump administration to pump liquidity into a quarantined America. The shutdown has left the country on the cusp of a ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More
Economy & Business

Boiling Over

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s frustration over having missed so much of the post-COVID realities in markets and economic life boiled over this morning in one of the more outrageous outbursts I have ever witnessed on financial media. Perhaps this outburst was rivaled only by his behavior during the March COVID market ... Read More