New evidence obtained by the American Center for Law & Justice shows that one of the same Obama administration officials who was involved in the unmasking of hundreds of then-President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign officials in late 2016 and early 2017 seemingly loathed Trump with a passion and plotted against his incoming administration.
“Over the last two years, we’ve all seen the reports of the unprecedented unmasking of U.S. citizens by senior Obama official, Ambassador Samantha Power, in the final days of the of the Administration — to the tune of more than one a day,” the center reported Wednesday.
“Now, through our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, we have unearthed evidence of significant political bias during the same time period she was unmasking Americans.”
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The evidence consists of emails sent by and to then-Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power in which a spate of anti-Trump venom and bias was espoused.
“I am discouraged and frightened. Electing a right-wing president is something, but such a morally repugnant bully!” an email sent to Power on Nov. 14, 2016, from a redacted State Department official reads.
The email further falsely described then-Trump campaign strategist Stephen Banner as “an avowed racist.”
What’s odd, notes investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, is that none of the emails obtained by the ACLJ show Power “respond[ing] or chastis[ing] the sender for using government email for such political animosity.”
More concerning still is the emails that Power herself sent.
In response to a late 2016 story about Trump’s plans to take the U.N. in a new policy direction vis-a-vis Israel, Power snidely wrote, “This reflects the lack of understanding of history.”
In response to the then-president-elect’s intention to withdraw America from the U.N.’s widely panned and failed climate pact, she wrote, “Lord help us all.”
According to Solomon, Power also made “efforts to arrange media interviews and speeches during her final days in office, clearly aiming to counter the incoming president’s agenda and fan the narrative that Trump might be dangerously soft on matters involving Russia and mercilessly hard on immigrants.”
For instance, she reportedly “spent time brainstorming a possible CBS ’60 Minutes’ interview as Trump’s transition period began. The idea was to parlay Power’s remarks at an upcoming citizenship event and the TV news magazine interview into forums to shame the president-elect on immigration.”
“Ambassador: Have a draft for your remarks for the naturalization ceremony on Tuesday, which has proven a useful and somewhat cathartic vessel to channel some post-Trump messages about who we are,” fellow State Department official Nikolaus Steinberg reportedly wrote to her on Nov. 11, 2016.
“Need to move out on 60 mins idea to seek maximum amplif,” Power replied.
Amplify what? Amplify their shared anti-Trump narrative.
Following her discussion with Steinberg, Power emailed “60 Minutes” executive producer Bill Owens to tout the “urgency” she felt to get her message out before time was up.
“We’re still reeling here, as you might imagine,” she wrote “My mission to the UN is a cabinet agency under President Obama, but will be demoted to something very different in January. Notwithstanding this, Tuesday’s results have given us an even greater sense of urgency to get our work done in our last few months. 70 good long days left!”
While these emails aren’t necessarily indicative of anything by themselves — save for the fact that Obama administration officials clearly loathed Trump and wanted to stymie his agenda– the fact that they were sent around the same time that Powers pursued the unmasking of the then-president-elect’s campaign officials is concerning.
“Power had unmasked nearly 300 names in her final days as United Nations Ambassador during 2016 and early 2017,” investigative reporter Sara Carter points out.
“The information was discovered by then-Congressman Trey Gowdy, who questioned both Power and former CIA Director John Brennan about the unmasking of American names. It is almost unheard of for a U.N. official to unmask American names in highly classified communications obtained by the National Security Administration.”
Note that this unmasking was tied to the Obama administration’s efforts to surveil Trump’s campaign ostensibly in search of Russian collusion. Couple this with the urgency Power displayed in her emails, and things start to look suspicious.
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“The sheer political panic evidenced in Samantha Power’s emails shows that ‘the fix was in’ against the incoming administration even before the 45th president was sworn into office,” ACLJ Jay Sekulow said in a statement to Solomon.
According to Solomon, “Power’s obvious anti-Trump predisposition in the emails” has raised serious questions “about a political motive for the unmaskings done under her authority.”
Her clear-cut bias has also raised concerns about whether or not she violated the Hatch Act.
“Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told me that the emails’ expressed bias and the use of government speeches, interviews and events to counter Trump might warrant an investigation into whether any conduct violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition on engaging in political activities on government time,” Solomon confirmed.
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