Mark Levin examines the full extent of Obama administration surveillance of the Trump campaign


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This is a rush transcript from “Life, Liberty & Levin,” May 17, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello, America. I’m Mark Levin. This is a special edition of “Life, Liberty & Levin.”

And if you care about your country, your liberty and the nature of your government, you’ll watch this program throughout the full course of the hour. It’s very, very important.

I want to go back to the beginning. On March 2nd, 2017, I got behind the microphone on my radio show after spending an hour pulling together various articles and something had occurred to me.

The Obama administration and subsequently, the F.B.I. and other entities in the Federal government were sabotaging the new President of the United States, and then as I looked further, I realized they had been sabotaging candidate Trump and then President-elect Trump.

And I went through it on March 2nd, and all hell broke loose. Then on March 5th, I appeared on “Fox & Friends Sunday” with Pete Hegseth and I went through the various exhibits that I had found, and there were more to lay out the case further of the coup, the massive spying and leaking that had taken place in the Obama administration, against Trump world.

And we shouldn’t be surprised by this. We have since learned that the Obama administration put spies in the Trump campaign, leaked incessantly to the press, the unmasking, which we’ll get to later, 39 individuals involved in unmasking Mike Flynn, unbelievable.

The fraud committed against the FISA Court, falsified documents and on and on and on.

But the mindset of the Obama administration was always about using clandestine and other activities, illegal activities against their perceived opponents.

There’s a great piece in the “National Review” last week by David Harsanyi, and he points out among other things, “By 2016, the Obama administration’s Intelligence Community had normalized domestic spying. Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, famously lied about snooping on American citizens to Congress.”

“His C.I.A. Director John Brennan oversaw an agency that felt comfortable spying on the United States Senate, with at least five of his underlings, breaking into congressional computer files.”

“His Attorney General, Eric Holder invoked the Espionage Act to spy on a Fox News journalist, James Rosen, shopping his case to three judges until he found one who let them name the reporter as a co-conspirator.”

“The Obama administration also spied on the Associated Press reporters with the news organization called a massive and unprecedented intrusion.”

And I might add, they also spied on James Risen, a “New York Times” reporter.

“And though it’s been long forgotten, Obama officials record monitoring the conversations of Members of Congress who opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

And I would add the use of the I.R.S. against the Tea Party and conservative organizations, and the list goes on and on and on.

The most lawless administration in modern history was the Obama-Biden administration. Now, with that context, I want to remind you of what took place here, right on Fox News, March 5th, 2017, Sunday on “Fox and Friends,” as we go through the context of what’s happening today. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: You laid out a devastating case about executive overreach of the Obama administration, which many believe it metamorphosed itself to tweets that President Trump sent out on Saturday morning accusing potential wiretapping in Trump Tower.

We want to give you a case here this morning to lay out what you know, what you know about it and the evidence you have for the potential executive overreach of the Obama administration?

LEVIN: Well, pleasure to be here. The evidence is overwhelming. This is not about President Trump’s tweeting. This is about the Obama administration’s spying.

And the question isn’t whether it’s spied. We know they went to the FISA Court twice. The question is, who did they spy on? The extent of the spying?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: All right, let’s stop here. I want to remind you folks, all I had was public reports that I’d pulled together, no insider information whatsoever. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: That is the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, Trump’s surrogates — and I want to walk you through this, the American people.

Exhibit one — Exhibit one. This is all public. Head street. Two separate sources with links to the counterintelligence community have confirmed that the F.B.I. sought and was granted a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court — this is fine — in October giving counterintelligence permission to examine the activity of quote, “U.S. persons” in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.

Let me go on. Since it’s me, they say the first FISA request sources say name Trump was denied back in June, denied by the court.

But the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server possibly related to the Trump campaign, and it’s alleged links to two banks.

Now, sources suggests that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of e-mails and other related documents that may concern U.S. persons.

Now, I know people are hung up with Trump’s word wiretapping. Well, how did they get access to this server information? Does it really matter if it was wiretapping, electronic surveillance or whatever it was?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Now remember, ladies and gentlemen, remember, I’m just basing it on the information that’s in the public record.

But I knew as a former Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of the United States in the Reagan administration, Ed Meese, these leaks were serious. They were close enough to the target.

Obviously, I couldn’t verify it, but the reporters went with it. And I knew they had to be coming out of the F.B.I., or some intelligence agency, or all of them. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Exhibit Two. “The Guardian,” a well-known rightwing British paper. Here it is, quote, “‘The Guardian’ has learned the F.B.I. applied for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.”

Keep in mind, this is during a presidential election. The sitting President, the incumbent party is now investigating the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in his campaign to some extent. The FISA Court turned down the application asking F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators to narrow its focus.

“According to one report, the F.B.I. was finally granted a warrant in October.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Folks, you can see right here at the beginning, I’m laying out the information that I found. Some of it is right on, some of it is a little sketchy, but most of it is right on and the gist is certainly right on. They went to the FISA Court and they got a warrant.

We now know they went there four times and got a warrant. We also now know that they lied.

The Inspector General’s report indicates that. The document was falsified by an F.B.I. lawyer. It leaks about this FISA application — were throughout the media. And I was attacked after this. Do I have any proof that they actually went to the FISA Court and so forth?

The point of this and the point of this program this evening is to show you the full extent of the Obama administration’s activity in this.

These aren’t a few one off rogue F.B.I. agents. This is a ubiquitous activity throughout the government and furthermore, it is a ubiquitous activity, aid and comfort given by the media to promote this lie about the Russia collusion issue. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Exhibit Three. “McClatchy,” another well-known rightwing newspaper. Here they have, the agencies — headline, “F.B.I. — five other agencies — five other Obama administration agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aide to Trump.”

“The F.B.I. and five other law enforcement Intelligence Agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from Kremlin covertly aided presidential-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said, the agencies involved in the inquiry are the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the N.S.A., the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the Director of the National Intelligence.”

Are you telling me Barack Obama didn’t know it was going on in six agencies?

HEGSETH: Mark, as you go on —

LEVIN: Hold on. Hold on.

HEGSETH: Okay, keep going.

LEVIN: I’m not done. I need to make the case because the media seems to be confused about their own reporting. “New York Times” another well-known liberal outlet, “Intercepted Russian communications part of inquiry into Trump associates,” January 19.

“The F.B.I. is leading the investigations aided by the N.S.A., the C.I.A., Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks, but have found no conclusive evidence of wrong doing.”

Listen to this. “One official said Intelligence reports based on some of the wiretap communications have been provided to the White House.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: January 19th, so the leaking before Obama leaves office is enormous to “The New York Times,” to “The Washington Post” to British newspapers, to websites and so forth.

The word has gone out. Push out this narrative of Russia collusion. Push it up. Cripple the incoming President of the United States. Create this cloud over his head, so when he comes into office, he will be viewed as a Russian puppet and we now know of course as a result of the Mueller investigation, as well as the release of information the other week, out of the Director of the National Intelligence, none of them believed it for a minute that there was any Russia collusion.

But look at what’s taking place here. While I’m talking about this on March 5th, 2017, the first one to go on national TV and lay all this out, we already know they had put spies in the Trump campaign. We already know they had gone to the FISA Court in October.

We already know that the dossier was phony and had been paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. We already know — today, we know that all of these activities were taking place before this January 5th meeting, which I’ll get to in a moment. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: “New York Times,” again. “N.S.A. gets more latitude to share intercepted communications in the final days of the Obama administration. The administration has expanded the power of the N.S.A. to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other Intelligence Agencies before applying privacy protections.”

Now, why would they do this on the way out the door? Well, March 1, Exhibit Six, “Obama administration rushed to preserve Intelligence of Russian election hacking. In the Obama administration’s last days …” Listen to this, ” … some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election, and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Trump and Russians across the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Now, let’s stop there. That’s two major stories from two major news outlets that point the finger at the White House, two information going to the White House, information coming from the White House — two major stories.

You see, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama not only knew about this, he obviously gave the go ahead. Even in general terms, you don’t have the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the D.N.C., the State Department, the Treasury Department, the N.S.A. and all the rest of it — you don’t have such a full administration-wide activity to destroy a candidate, destroy President- elect, and then to destroy a President — all Donald Trump and everybody around him without the President of the United States not only knowing about it, but at least in general terms, giving the go ahead.

More when I come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Let’s continue where I left off. March 5, 2017, “Fox and Friends Sunday,” Pete Hegseth and I going through the evidence that’s publicly available about the coup efforts of the Obama administration, which should underscore another point.

If I could find them in the media, surely Obama was well-aware of what his administration was doing from the FISA Courts and all the rest of it, right?

I was pulling it from The New York Times,” “McClatchy,” “Washington Post.” The President at least when I served President Reagan gets a whole list of the clippings that involve his administration or his name at least twice a day.

So, there’s no way Barack Obama didn’t know about this, even if he just read newspapers. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Exhibit seven, “New York Times.” “Flynn is said to have talked to Russians about sanction as Trump took office.” Well, where’d they get this information? Well, Mark, you know, the FISA Court. They’re always monitoring the Russian Ambassador. And so how do we know that?

Maybe they are and maybe they’re not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Well, we know they were. And we know what happened to Michael Flynn, he was set up in a horrific way. They wanted to take him out. Why? Because Flynn knew where all the actors were.

Flynn could help uncover what had taken place against Donald Trump, in my view, including what was going on with the C.I.A. and the National Director of Intelligence and the FISA Courts and all the rest and they didn’t want Flynn around, because he would be a problem.

And so, they interview him. It goes perfectly fine. Then they go after him again after the now infamous January 5, 2017 meeting with Obama, Biden and others, which again, I’ll get back to in a moment. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: One more, “Washington Post,” March 2nd. “U.S. investigators have examined contacts Attorney General Sessions had with Russian officials during the time he was advising Donald Trump’s campaign.”

“The focus of the U.S. counterintelligence investigation has been on communication between Trump campaign officials and Russia.” Listen to this. “The inquiry involving Sessions and examining his contacts while serving as Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser in the spring and summer of 2016.” This has been going on for a year.

HEGSETH: But Mark, as you do on your radio program. You lay out a devastating case based on public documents as you point out and not rightwing sources, but mainstream left stream sources.

How confident are you that this new — this investigation which was on Russian — so-called Russian hacking, but now the White House says this morning will be broadened to looking into executive overreach? How confident are you they will find something there?

LEVIN: Now, let me be clear. I don’t know. But they already found something. The issue isn’t whether the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign or transition or certain of its surrogates, the issues to the extent of it.

They went into court a second time, they were so aggressive. They waited four or five months. They go back in October, weeks before the General Election, they narrow their request.

All of a sudden we have leaks coming out on Flynn, then we have oh, a horrible meeting that took place between Sessions and so forth.

And I’m telling you, as a former Chief of Staff to an Attorney General of the United States in the Reagan administration, these are police state tactics. Now, what Barack Obama know? He knew everything I just read you apart from one or two articles. You know how I know?

It’s in the newspapers. It’s right there. So, Barack Obama not only knew this, but he gets a daily Intelligence briefing.

And let me tell you something about daily Intelligence briefings. If your Attorney General, and your F.B.I. is going to the FISA Court. Take out warrant to investigate aspects of an opposition party in the middle of a General Election campaign, how much you want to bet the President of the United States knew that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: And isn’t it amazing, ladies and gentlemen, that through all the years of this coup effort that nobody has directly asked Barack Obama anything.

They impeach Donald Trump, the victim of the Russia phony collusion story, the phony Ukraine issue over a perfectly fine phone call.

They don’t even ask Barack Obama about his rogue F.B.I., his rogue Department of Justice, his rogue N.S.A., his rogue C.I.A., his rogue White House staff.

They have article after article and of course, the media. Don’t press the case against Obama or the Obama administration. Why? Because they’re the ones who are receiving all of this felonious information. All these leaks out of the F.B.I., all of these leaks out of the C.I.A. and National Intelligence and all the rest of it.

They’re in on it. They’re in on it. We know all these things, not because the media has intentionally presented it. In fact, we know most of these things subsequent to that show, because of conservatives, Members of Congress, the Attorney General and others pushing this not, “The New York Times” not “The Washington Post” or NBC, ABC or CBS, none of them.

They are cover up artists. They are the Praetorian Guard for the Obama administration, just as we have this judge now, Emmet Sullivan, in Washington, D.C. He is part of the Praetorian Guard to protect the Obama administration obviously, a never Trumper, but this is very, very serious. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: This was the case made by “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “McClatchy” and the rest of them. I just put it together as a former Justice Department official and Donald Trump here is being attacked for what he tweeted.

Donald Trump is the victim. His campaign is the victim. His transition team is the victim. His surrogates are the victim. These are police state tactics.

I am telling you this as a former Chief of Staff to an Attorney General, if this had been done to Barack Obama, all hell would break loose, and it should. And Barack Obama’s statement is pathetic.

Let me just say this, where does it go from here? They ought to release both FISA Court applications where they sought the warrant, the one in the summer and the one in October so we know exactly what they were doing. That’s number one.

Number two, Congress needs to see the daily presidential Intelligence briefings over the past year or so. Those are the beginnings of a serious investigation.

Number three, for the Republicans in Congress, you control the majority, if the Democrats do not want to assist and they won’t, because I’m starting to think Chuck Schumer and the others are participating in all of this cover up activity, then plow ahead without them, but this is important to the contrary.

We cannot have a sitting presidential administration, unleashing six Federal agencies, Intelligence and law enforcement — I don’t mean the President personally sitting there, saying, you know what Valerie let’s go get him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVIN: Stop. I’m not so sure something like that didn’t happen right now.

I’m not so sure. I want to move on here. I’m not so sure if something like that didn’t happen. But before I do that, the next day. There’s “The Washington Post,” because this is what the media does. They’re trying to protect themselves and their participation in the coup effort, the greatest scandal in American history.

So what do they do? They spend the next week trashing me. I’m a big boy, I can handle it. And they write here in “The Washington Post” on March 6th, 2017. “On Thursday,” my radio show, “Levin returned to the silent coup theme.”

I didn’t coin it. This was the title of a book, but I reintroduced it to public on that day, “The silent coup thing during his evening show arguing that the Obama administration had orchestrated a silent coup against President Trump.”

“The Obama Justice Department, he claimed had wiretapped and spied on the Trump campaign when it investigated Russian interference in the election and had leaked information to the media to undermine the new President.”

This word wiretap which the President seized on at the time, was in the headline of “The New York Times” article, I didn’t make it up. He didn’t make it up.

And then they changed it later. So, what did the media do? They attacked. The same media that knew damn well, exactly what was going on. They attacked. They acted like well, this is a rightwing conspiracy and as more information comes out three years later, we know that’s not the case.

We also know that the top officials — the top officials in the Obama administration also knew that this was entirely fictional, bogus, a pretext to take out a sitting President of the United States.

When we come back, I’m going to prove it to you. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARIANNE RAFFERTY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESOPNDENT: Live from “America’s News Headquarters,” I’m Marianne Rafferty.

A sense of optimism about the U.S. economy from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Powell speaking on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” says the economy should start to recover in the second half of the year.

But he tempered his optimism saying a vaccine is needed for a full recovery. Powell offered an overall positive message saying quote, “You wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy.”

And a tropical storm warning is in effect four sections of coastal North Carolina right now as Arthur inches closer to the U.S. The impact is expected to be minimal with some flooding and rough seas along the shore.

The storm will probably drop about two inches of rain throughout the night and into tomorrow.

I’m Marian Rafferty now back to LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN.

LEVIN: Welcome back. I will prove to you that they knew all along there was no Russia collusion.

And by the way, we have this Mueller report. Thousands of subpoenas, witnesses, hundreds of thousands of documents. The President never asserted a single privilege. Any witness they wanted, any document they wanted they got it. No Russia collusion. Grand jury found none.

Prosecutors, as partisan Democrats, found none, but it still didn’t matter. And now recently released documents that Adam Schiff did not want to release for months and months and months, thanks to Grenell, the acting Director of National Intelligence, thanks to the Attorney General and the Senate for releasing the information.

Here’s what we know in secret testimony during the Schiff fraudulent, unconstitutional impeachment hearings. Here’s what we know took place in secret.

James Clapper testified in 2017, quote, “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting, conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.” That’s what he said.

“|That’s not to say there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence, but I don’t recall any instance where I had direct evidence.”

Then we have Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. According to her, “I’m not in possession of anything. I’m not in possession and didn’t read or absorb information that came from out of the Intelligence Community.”

When asked again, she said, “I am not.”

Okay. Next, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice when she was asked the question, quote, “To the best of my recollection, there wasn’t anything smoking. But there were some things that gave me pause.” She said, according to the transcribed interview.

“I don’t recall Intelligence that I would consider evidence to that effect that I saw conspiracy prior to my departure.”

And when asked whether she had any evidence of coordination, she replied, “I don’t recall any Intelligence or evidence to that effect.”

When asked about collusion, Rice replied, “Same answer.”

Former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes was asked the same question, “I wouldn’t have received any information on any criminal or counterintelligence investigations into what the Trump campaign was doing. So, I would not have seen that information,” he said.

When pressed against, he said, “I saw indications of potential coordination, but I did not see, you know, the specific evidence of the actions of the Trump campaign.”

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “I can’t say that it existed or not,” because she was out of the loop, of course.

What about former F.B.I. Director Andrew McCabe. He was not asked the specific question, but rather as they point out in Town Hall questions about the accuracy and legitimacy of the unverified anti-Trump dossier complied by an ex-British Intelligence officer, Christopher Steele, quote, “We’ve not been able to prove the accuracy of all the information.”

“You don’t know if it’s true or not,” he was asked, “That’s correct.”

And we could go on. This is shocking. Mueller finds nothing after $40 million, two and a half years, thousands of subpoenas, witnesses, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, millions of pages of documents, actually no privileges raised by the President of the United States.

Two committees in Congress working on a full time nothing. The phony impeachment hearing, the secret — the secret testimony taking — not a single official anywhere, anywhere, saw any evidence of collusion whatsoever.

Michael Flynn set up no evidence of anything wrong in his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. Nothing. No Russian collusion whatsoever.

So, how did we get here? We have an F.B.I. that put spies in the Trump campaign early on. We have an F.B.I. Deputy Director McCabe, who tried to conspire with the Deputy Attorney General for these purposes, the acting Attorney General Rosenstein now that they got Sessions out of the way on the 25th Amendment on whether they could remove the President of the United States.

We had an F.B.I. attorney falsify a document to the FISA Court. We had a dossier used that they admit they couldn’t verify. McCabe admits they couldn’t verify it.

We now know it was full of trash that was shopped around the Federal government, used by law enforcement and Intelligence agencies as a pretext to go after the Trump administration.

Then we have this meeting on January 5th that I want to discuss at some length with our guest coming up, Mollie Hemingway that’s been released recently, January 5th, 2017.

It’s a meeting in which Obama, Joe Biden, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and Yates, perhaps more were in this meeting, right before Obama is to leave office and what are they discussing? Michael Flynn and Russia.

Here’s the document. Here’s the blue dress. Here’s the Obama blue dress.

It says in part, Obama started by saying that he wanted a meeting with the Yates and Comey after, to stay behind.

Obama started by saying he had learned that the “information about Flynn” quote-unquote, and his conversation with Kislyak about sanctions.

Obama specified he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House would be treating Flynn any differently given the information.

People have said that means keep information from Flynn. I say that means, treat the information differently. Get Flynn, which is exactly what they did. I’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Mollie Hemingway of “The Federalist,” you’ve done outstanding work on this subject and so many others and I wanted to have you here and ask you a question.

This January 5, 2017 meeting in the Oval Office led by the President of the United States with all the top actors there. Is it believable with all that was in the press, all that was going on in his administration really law enforcement, Intelligence, all that was going on with the D.N.C. and the Hillary Clinton campaign? Is it really believable that Barack Obama didn’t know anything about any of this?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR OVER AT “THE FEDERALIST”: It’s not believable for multiple reasons and what I loved about you taking us through this in the first few segments, is that while you’re going through this whole Russia collusion hoax, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds.

When you take a step back and you realize, okay, so we know that there was no Russia collusion. We also know that the people who claimed that there was knew at the time that they were saying it that it wasn’t true. So, what’s going on, exactly?

You know, we get more and more information. It was a counterintelligence investigation that really should never have started.

Counterintelligence investigations should be known to the President. They exist so that the President can know about threats to the country. So, it was never believable that he didn’t know about it and there is a lot of evidence that he did including texts from Lisa Page, I believe to Peter Strzok saying the President wants to know everything about this issue.

But this January 5th meeting, which we already knew about, but got many more details recently tells us just how involved President Obama and his administration were in this entire situation.

LEVIN: Do you think Susan Rice, of all the things to do on January 20th at 12:15 in the afternoon, do you think it just popped in her head, boy, I better skedaddle back to the White House and get in front of my computer and write a self-serving e-mail that says President Obama began the conversation about the January 5th meeting.

She writes on January 20th, after the President is inaugurated, President Trump, stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities by the book.

Number one, by the book, many people have talked about why would you need to write that? But number two, what caught me is, by stressing his continued commitment to ensure — continued commitment tells me, wait a minute. We’re not just talking about January 5th.

How do we know the President wasn’t briefed on so many other aspects of this long before January 5th? We don’t know, do we?

HEMINGWAY: Well, and certainly, the word continued suggests that he has known about it for some period of time prior to January 5th.

What I also like is when she says, they openly talked with the people who would be continuing on into the Trump administration about how to keep information from the Trump administration. That is completely inappropriate.

And we know that nobody had a legitimate — had legitimate concerns about this Russia Intelligence, because under oath, they all testified to the contrary.

So why would they be openly plotting how to keep this information? It becomes much more clearer as you see all the other testimony and 302 documents that are put forth.

This was about making sure that they could sideline people who would expose what they had been doing throughout the campaign throughout the transition, and then, of course, what they hoped to continue doing into the Trump administration.

And Mike Flynn was target number one on that point, because he had the experience and knowledge of understanding Intelligence and what they — he would have seen what they were doing and he would have known that it was fishy and problematic.

And so he was a high priority target in the days that followed.

I mean, almost immediately after this January 5th meeting, you start seeing a coordinated leak campaign to set a false narrative about, you know, a crazy story about Russia collusion, but thanks to a very compliant and complicit media, who were part of the effort, they just regurgitated these leaks that were coming to them that put forth this false and damaging story about collusion with Russia.

And that starts within days of this — of this initial meeting at the Obama White House on January 5th.

LEVIN: Mollie Hemingway, when we return, I want to ask you about the newly released information and we have some great patriots now in the administration, the Attorney General of the United States, a couple of U.S. Attorneys like Durham, Jensen, and Grenell, the Acting Director of National Intelligence who are actually looking at this information and trying to inform Congress and the American people and the media.

Many in Congress seem not to care, the left, many in the media seem not to care, they are still attacking. But we care, the American people. And this list of individuals who were unmasking and had information about the unmasking of General Flynn — 39 individuals, including ambassadors and so — it’s just astonishing.

When we return I want to explore this with you. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Mollie Hemingway, no thanks to the people that served in the Obama administration and the Democratic Party or the media, we now have this list of individuals from November 2016 through January 2017, who are hot on unmasking anything related to Michael Flynn and by the way, for all we know, an awful lot of other American citizens.

His name is leaked to David Ignatius, a liberal columnist for “The Washington Post” but all kinds of people are on this list, including the Vice President of the United States on January 12th. What do you say to this?

HEMINGWAY: Well, it’s interesting? First, I think it’s important to remember what’s happening with masking of American citizens’ names.

We have broad powers given to our Federal government to spy on people, and in the course of spying on people, they might collect information on American citizens.

We have privacy rights. We have civil liberties that make sure that our agencies are supposed to mask that information so that we don’t have spying against American citizens.

Now, sometimes you might have a legitimate reason to unmask the name of a private citizen. But remember, they’re masked precisely because the information is so sensitive, they don’t even want it shared within the Intelligence community.

Now, first thing is that Intelligence officials will frequently say that unmasking is rare. That’s not true. It happens all the time, unfortunately.

But it’s supposed to happen from Intelligence officials who are investigating, from people who are legitimate investigative responsibility.

No, one in the West Wing of the White House has legitimate investigative responsibility. And so when we look at this list of some of the people who were unmasking just one individual in the Trump transition, and we have reason to believe that they were unmasking everybody in the Trump transition, we see that there are high level officials in the West Wing.

Joe Biden, I mean, that’s interesting; Chief of Staff to Barack Obama was unmasking Mike Flynn’s name, and there are a lot of concerns not even just because they’re unmasking, but because they’re sharing that information around and leaking it.

They are leaked — they were doing so much leaking in December and January and even into the new administration, that’s what set this false narrative and that’s why the unmasking is interesting.

Now, it is also true that we have reason to believe based on testimony previously given that Mike Flynn’s name was actually never masked as it related to the phone call with Ambassador Kislyak. That would be inappropriate to have failed to mask that information initially.

That means that even more people had access to it throughout the F.B.I., and we know that they were sharing it sort of willy-nilly with people at other agencies as well.

LEVIN: And they’re spreading this information around. It’s quite ubiquitous, actually. I mean, I can’t understand why the Ambassador to Turkey needs this information and four or five other ambassadors. Why do you think they were doing that? To leak it?

HEMINGWAY: I think it was partly for, I don’t know and we don’t actually know exactly what was unmasked here.

As I mentioned, the phone call with Kislyak, we are told was never masked to begin with, and that’s inappropriate.

Whatever they were unmasking throughout December and January, these high level officials throughout the Obama administration, they could have just been on fishing expeditions for other things.

We also know as you noted that there were changes to the rules prohibiting sharing of this information. So, it was getting shared around to a wide variety of people.

Maybe that was to give cover to people who were leaking. Maybe that was to ensure better leaks, or just to help that leak operation.

Again, the reason why we care about this isn’t even about the Intelligence itself, although clearly, we have abuses of that process.

It’s because the Trump administration was the victim of a coordinated leak campaign to set a knowingly false narrative of Russia collusion. This had foreign — this could have been horrible in terms of foreign relations, and it was actually quite horrible in terms of foreign relations.

IT was horrible for domestic policy. It really undermined the healthy governance of the Trump administration, and it went on for years. It’s not just what they did prior to the inauguration. It’s what they continue to do, continuing to set up a Special Counsel investigation that was completely ridiculous, and sidelined so much good work in the administration for a matter of years, and it keeps on going.

And so these this is unprecedented levels of unmasking and leaking and conspiring against an incoming administration. We always prided ourselves on having healthy, smooth transitions of power.

This was a willful attempt to undermine that smooth transition of power and that’s an attack on the American people themselves.

LEVIN: It seems like the greatest entity that interfered in the election was the Obama administration. We’ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEVIN: Welcome back. Mollie Hemingway, the media has played an enormous role in this part. I mean, an active role, and they’re not reporting, they are activists. What do you make of our media today?

HEMINGWAY: Well, and it’s an important point because now that so much more information is coming out thanks to Attorney General Barr and thanks to Rick Grenell and others, we are not going to see good reporting on the actual facts of the matter.

That from the very beginning, they were willful co partisans in this effort. There was no leak that they were too resistant to taking, it seems like and the leaks would not have meant anything if reporters had asked tough questions about why the leaks were happening or whether the leaks were fully informative.

And from the initial leak of the dossier being briefed to President Trump, to the leak of Ambassador Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak, to the leak of Jeff Sessions having meetings with Ambassador Kislyak, these were just regurgitated by the media and became a really important part of the operation.

I just want to point out one in particular, they leaked to “The Washington Post” that they had looked over the Flynn phone call with Kislyak and found no concern whatsoever.

That wasn’t because that was true. That was because they wanted to make Mike Flynn at ease when they ambushed him the next day.

In that article that “The Washington Post” printed, they said he was not the target of an investigation. That wasn’t true.

And if we had reporters who were more critical, more skeptical, less eager to play along with a dangerous campaign, we might have seen a much different story than we saw in the last few years.

LEVIN: You are the President of the United States, you now see all these things that took place, you knew it anyway. But now they’re all being demonstrated to be the case and there is no Russia collusion.

Then you have these press events, whether it’s the coronavirus or other issues and the same media, pretty much, the same political media, the same Kamikaze reporters go into those press conferences to try and undermine the President in his handling of the coronavirus, in his handling of opening the economy.

They don’t have expert reporters, seasoned reporters substantive reporting. It’s the same people that pushed the Russia collusion narrative and Ukraine nonsense from beginning to end.

Mollie Hemingway, I want to thank you. Please keep up the great work. We much appreciate it. God bless you.

HEMINGWAY: Thank you.

LEVIN: See you next time on “Life, Liberty & Levin.”

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