Congress demands answers on why Obama officials demanded classified intel that harmed Trump
Samantha Power’s involvement in the unmasking by former Obama administration officials of sensitive national security information is raising red flags.
The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.
“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”
VIDEO: Samantha powers Unmasker in Chief
The source questioned why Power would need to uncover such classified intelligence information in her role at the U.N.
“That’s just not the sort of thing that she should have been concerned about, unless she was playing the role of political operative with the help of the intelligence community,” the source said. “It gives away what was actually going on: the Obama administration was operating in a pervasive culture of impunity and using the intelligence community against their political opponents.”
Rice was scheduled to speak to House Intelligence Committee this week, but the meeting was reportedly postponed. Some sources speculated this could be a delaying tactic by Rice aimed at pushing the testimony back until after Congress’s summer recess.
Leading members of Congress have begun pushing for the Intelligence Committee and other oversight bodies to investigate former Obama administration officials who they believe are responsible for the leaks.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon last week that these leaks appear to have come from former senior officials, potentially including Ben Rhodes, the Obama national security adviser responsible for creating what he described as an in-house “echo chamber” meant to mislead the public and Congress about the landmark Iran nuclear deal.
“I think Congress and some members on the Intelligence Committee can call Ben Rhodes to testify,” DeSantis said. “He may be able to invoke executive privilege from when Obama was president, but he definitely can’t do that in any interactions he’s had since then.”
DeSantis identified Rhodes and other senior Obama administration officials as being “involved with feeding journalists some of these [leaks]. I believe he’s in touch with people on the National Security Council. It would be absolutely legitimate as part of leak investigation to bring him in and put him under oath, and I would absolutely support doing that.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with brain cancer, the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said Wednesday.
The report said 97 employees of the USPS violated the Hatch Act.
Though federal workers are permitted to do political work while on leave from their agency, the Office of Special Counsel said the Postal Service demonstrated an “institutional bias” toward the candidates endorsed by the union, primarily Democrats.
“Specifically, USPS’s practice of facilitating carrier releases for the union’s political activity resulted in an institutional bias in favor of [National Association of Letter Carriers] endorsed political candidates, which the Hatch Act prohibits,” the Office of Special Counsel found.
The investigation from the Office of Special Counsel began after Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, heard concerns from a constituent, Timm Kopp, about leave practices he experienced related to the 2016 election.
Kopp works as a letter carrier, and was concerned the Postal Service “incurred unnecessary overtime costs” and “improperly coordinated” with the NALC, the union.
According to the report, issued to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday, 97 members of the NALC requested leave without pay to participate in a program, called Labor 2016, to help elect Clinton and other union-backed candidates.
The Office of Special Counsel reported 82 percent of the work occurred in key battleground states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Those who assisted with Labor 2016 said they helped canvas, made phone calls for volunteers, and participated in other get-out-the-vote efforts.
Adam Miles, the acting special counsel for the Office of Special Counsel, said the NALC gave a list of letter carriers to participate in the campaign activity to a senior USPS labor relations official.
The official then emailed lists to lower-level USPS management officials nationwide.
According to Miles, who is testifying before the Government Affairs and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, the lower-level officials interpreted the messages from headquarters as “directives to release the carriers” on leave without pay.
The 97 union members who requested leave from the USPS without pay to participate in Labor 2016 were compensated through the Letter Carrier Political Fund, the union’s political action committee.
“As a federal entity, the USPS must remain politically neutral,” Miles said in his opening statement to the committee.
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