AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
Arguably no president entered office with greater pomp and circumstance than Barack Obama. In 2008, political commentators compared him to a “god.” Supporters heralded his ascension to the White House as the coming of a new age in American politics. Even foreign leaders heaped praise on the one-term Senator. The hyperbole reached such a fevered pitch that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize only nine months into his first term as president, for no achievement in particular.
Yet since Obama left office in 2016, a litany of scandals have emerged surrounding his presidency that confirm what conservatives long believed – the media’s rosy depiction of the 44th President’s tenure was far from reality. Despite the fact that Obama repeatedly labeled his own administration the most “scandal-free” in history, with time, it has become apparent that his legacy is in fact marred with some of the most serious political corruption scandals in history – many of which continue to plague our politics to this day.
- Hunter Biden
As far back as 2008, the Obama campaign recognized that Hunter Biden would be a problem. From 2000 to 2008, Hunter had a lucrative business lobbying Congress to add earmarks to legislation that would benefit his clients and make him wealthy in the process. While the White House purported that Hunter never invoked his father’s clout to close deals, one of his clients summed it up nicely in saying that Hunter had “a very strong last name that really paid off in terms of our lobbying efforts.”
After getting indirect pressure from the Obama campaign, Hunter closed the business, but then immediately started a new one that, by 2012, was conducting business with Chinese private-equity funds that had direct ties to the Chinese government. In 2013, he even joined his father on a flight to China to conduct business with foreign nationals. According to one report, several staff members were concerned about a potential conflict of interest with the Vice President.
Just this week, audio emerged in which Hunter is heard bragging that he can get his father to adopt any policy position he wants.
When Hunter expanded his business interests into Ukraine, then-State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki dismissed concerns because Hunter was a “private citizen.” In multiple interviews, several Obama officials said, at minimum, his work was “questionable.” Yet there’s no record of Barack Obama ever once taking any substantive steps to stop these “questionable” conflicts, although it is impossible to believe he was unaware of his own Vice President’s family training on access to the administration. Hunter’s questionable business dealings, combined with the shocking revelations from his laptop, all suggest that Obama had to know something was amiss with Hunter and chose to look the other way.
2. The Hillary Clinton Email Scandal
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had access to some of the most highly-classified documents in the country. Yet, she knowingly put national security in jeopardy by keeping sensitive emails on a personal “homebrew” email server. Despite finding multiple Top Secret emails on her server, something she denied having possession of, the FBI declined to charge her.
Obama was asked multiple times about these emails and consistently claimed he found out about the server at “the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports.” Yet, according to the Inspector General’s report, Obama was one of over a dozen government officials who routinely communicated with Clinton via this server. In fact, one FBI disclosure found that Obama had even used a “pseudonym” for many of their conversations, behavior that strongly suggested he knew there was something wrong about Clinton’s emails.
3. The IRS Scandal
In 2010, Catherine Engelbrecht applied for tax-exempt status for two organizations, “True the Vote” and “King Street Patriots,” both dedicated to promoting the principles of the Tea Party movement. Then, over the next two years, she and her family faced unprecedented attacks and investigations by the federal government, including multiple audits of her business, an ATF investigation, and even audits of her and her husband. Her non-profit was one of the dozens of groups aggressively investigated by the IRS for no reason other than having “tea party” or “patriot” in their names.
When President Obama first responded to the allegations of IRS targeting, he dismissed it as “outrageous” and a naked partisan attack. Once a Congressional investigation provided irrefutable evidence, however, he begrudgingly permitted the resignation of Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller, seemingly an admission of wrongdoing. Yet, when the architect of the scandal, Lois Lerner, pled the fifth before Congress, Obama made no attempt to press the issue. He essentially let her off the hook after she weaponized the IRS for political purposes, strongly suggesting it was done with the sanction of higher officials than Lois Learner. To this day, the IRS’s abuse of government power under President Obama has gone unpunished, even as it destroyed the lives of hundreds of law-abiding American citizens.
4. Steele dossier/Russia hoax
Much has been said about naked partisan bias demonstrated by the mainstream media and the intelligence community in regard to the “Trump-Russian Collusion Hoax.” Yet most of the accusations and statements explicitly omit the genesis of the aforementioned hoax. Where did the lying begin, and why didn’t anyone stop it?
In August 2016, according to CIA officials, President Barack Obama was briefed on the existence of the now-infamous “Steele dossier.” Yet, only a year later, Former CIA Director John Brennan would testify that “It wasn’t part of the corpus of intel information we had…it was not used in any way as a basis.” If it wasn’t verified or germane to the investigation, why was Obama “briefed” on it? Furthermore, under Obama, the intelligence community falsified surveillance applications, illegally entrapped, and even attempted to imprison Trump advisors and aides. In 2020, a bipartisan commission found that Obama’s handling of “Russia-gate” had “many flaws.”
Though Special Counsel John Durham has yet to release his anticipated report, the preliminary findings are damning for the Obama administration. As a direct result of his investigation, the American public now knows that much, if not all, of the “Russia-Trump collusion” narrative was a disinformation campaign engineered by the Clinton administration to undermine the legitimacy of the Trump presidency. In 2016, then-President Obama was directly briefed by CIA Director John Brennan that the Clinton campaign was doing this, yet made no effort to halt it. In fact, Obama seemed to enable the hoax by permitting the FBI to spy on Trump’s campaign, and later discussed prosecuting General Michael Flynn under the Logan Act (something completely unheard of) in the Oval Office.
If Obama were merely a private citizen, then revisiting his legacy would be a largely academic endeavor. Yet Obama was one of Biden’s most effective supporters during the 2020 election. He is currently on the campaign trail, stumping for other vulnerable Democrats, and will likely be a critical figure in Biden’s 2024 reelection campaign. Americans should ask: why is it that almost every major scandal currently consuming American politics leads back to Barack Obama?
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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