New allegations from Judicial Watch indicate the Obama administration may have attempted to disseminate classified documents regarding Russia’s moves to interfere in elections in Europe to friendly legislators on the Hill as a way of undermining President Donald Trump — before he was even inaugurated.
The 42 pages of redacted documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department, reportedly show that Democrat Senator, staunch Obama advocate and critic of Trump Ben Cardin (Md) received the documents prior to the president’s inauguration. Cardin later admitted to having requested information about Russian interference in Europe, and that he had shared that information with his Republican colleagues. A New York Times report in March further states that the Obama administration was merely attempting to “spread intelligence about Kremlin attempts to undermine the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as alleged meetings between Trump associates and Russian officials.”
The problem? The documents in question don’t appear to mention Trump at all, nor do they mention Russian attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They’re mostly about Russians election interference efforts in Europe.
This inconsistency has led Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton to accuse the State Department of passing along the classified material as a way to “undermine President Trump.”
“These documents show the Obama State Department under John Kerry gathered and sent its own dossier of classified information on Russia to Senator Ben Cardin, a political ally in the U.S. Senate, to undermine President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch will pursue information on who pulled this classified information, who authorized its release, and why was it evidently dumped just days before President Trump’s inauguration.”
Judicial Watch also notes that as early as March 2017, former Obama Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas “admitted surveillance of President’s Trump’s campaign and leaking of intelligence information.” Farkas is said to have asked lawmakers to gather intelligence that could show a link between Russia election interference and the Trump campaign before Obama left office.
Farkas said she was worried that “the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods.”
The documents, marked sensitive, reportedly show Russian actions across Europe, including attempts to build relationships with far-right parties in Germany, France and Austria, efforts to circumvent EU sanctions, engage in disinformation campaigns in the Czech Republic, and erode the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey.