- March 22, 2018 in Columnists
What if it was Barack Obama under investigation?
Imagine after Barack Obama is elected in 2008 it’s revealed that North Korea meddled in our election with the goal of helping elect Obama. The FBI announces they’re investigating the North Korean attack and whether any members of the Obama campaign assisted it.
In a matter of weeks Obama is forced to fire his national security adviser after it becomes public that the intelligence community considers the adviser to be potentially compromised.
Let’s suppose Barack Obama fires the FBI director and meets with North Korean officials in the Oval Office the next day. He boasts that now the pressure from the investigation is off and he also gives them sensitive classified information.
A couple days later in a television interview Obama says the North Korea investigation was on his mind when he decided to fire the FBI director.
Then the FBI director testifies that Obama repeatedly tried to get him to pledge loyalty and clear his name in the investigation. He says that Obama also asked him to let his former national security adviser go. Contemporaneous notes shared with colleagues corroborate his story.
It’s reported that during the transition the brother of Obama’s education secretary flew to the Philippines to meet with North Korean officials to set up a secret back channel of communication.
Throughout all of this what if President Obama never had anything bad to say about North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un? Contrarily he praises Kim as a strong leader and muses that it would be better to get along with him. When Congress passes North Korean sanctions with veto-proof margins, Obama grudgingly signs it. But he drags his feet on implementing them, missing several deadlines.
Obama denies any of his campaign members met with any North Koreans but we find out his national security adviser, attorney general and other campaign and administration officials had meetings and phone calls with North Koreans and failed to disclose them.
After Obama’s attorney general recuses himself, the deputy AG appoints a special counsel to take over the North Korean investigation.
We also learn his campaign managers, David Axelrod and David Plouffe took a meeting in Chicago with several North Koreans. There’s an email telling Axelrod the meeting would provide dirt on John McCain as part of the North Koreans’ mission to help Obama. Axelrod replies, “I love it.”
And we learn that Barack Obama himself had created a false cover story for the meeting before the truth came out.
When questioned about these events Obama blows off the meeting and says the whole investigation is fake news, a hoax and a witch hunt.
It’s reported Obama has called the Democratic heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees to ask them to knock the North Korean story down in the press. He asks the Director of National Intelligence and the director of the NSA to push back against the North Korea investigation.
Meanwhile we watch Democrats fan out across cable news saying there’s a conspiracy involving the Republicans, FBI and Justice Department to accuse the Obama campaign of collusion with the North Koreans and they’re doing it because of Obama’s race. Polls indicate Democrats strongly back President Obama.
The House intelligence committee closes it’s investigation before it’s finished and the Democrats release a report exonerating Obama.
Later it’s reported that Obama actually ordered the special counsel fired but White House counsel blocked the move by threatening to quit.
When I conceived of this column it was for Trump supporters to reexamine their support for someone I believe is a clear and present danger to national security. How would they respond if it were Barack Obama? How would they feel? Would they feel hypocritical? But I can’t ask them to do that if I’m unprepared to engage this thought experiment myself.
I believe my initial reaction would be to close ranks and support Obama. While Obama voters were enthusiastic and loyal, the love for President Obama from African-Americans knew no bounds. Politics has become tribal. And we’re masters at rationalizing and making excuses for those we like. Initially I’d be no different in that regard.
But if I saw Obama acting as though he had something to hide and his denials about contacts between his campaign and North Koreans were shown to be false, I couldn’t hang in there with him.
As someone who grew up in a patriotic navy family the North Korean connection would trouble me greatly. It wouldn’t be easy because I believed in Obama and his election was significant. I think I’d be furious at him for letting so many people down with his involvement in such a scandal. But I pledge allegiance to the United States, not a party or a man.
It would be quite disillusioning. And it would be painful because I believe the majority of Democrats would give him the benefit of the doubt. And I know most blacks would have his back. So breaking with him would result in being ostracized from friends and maybe relatives. The temptation to not upset the apple cart, to remain a member of the tribe and draw a line in the sand against Republicans would be strong. Red vs. blue.
But I’m just not that good at lying to myself. What would you do?