President Trump said on Thursday that Obama officials who wanted to “ expose ” former national security adviser Michael Flynn in surveillance documents should be jailed for their actions.
“People should go to jail for this stuff and hopefully many people will have to pay,” Trump said in a Fox Business interview that aired Thursday morning. “No other president has to go through, and I’ll tell you, General Flynn and others are heroes, heroes, because what happened to them. They weren’t after General Flynn. They wanted him to lie about me. Come up with a story. “
A recently released secret memo released this week revealed the names of Obama government officials who asked to reveal Flynn’s identity in documents describing the surveillance of the Russian ambassador, who Flynn was in contact with. The unmasking requests were made between Election Day 2016 and the end of January 2016, while investigations into the Trump campaign’s Russian contacts and Russian election interference were underway.
Trump said officials have committed the “greatest political crime in our country’s history” and mused on whether those involved would receive prison terms if he was a Democrat rather than a Republican President.
“And I’m talking in 50-year sentences,” said Trump. “It is a shame what happened. This is the biggest political scam, a fraud in the history of our country. ‘
Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the Obama officials who reportedly requested that Flynn be unmasked, the memo said. The Biden campaign took the presence of the suspected Democratic candidate off the list and said that “none of these individuals could have known Flynn’s identity beforehand.”
On January 12, 2017, the same day Biden’s office received the debunking information about Flynn, the Washington PostDavid Ignatius published a column stating that in December 2016 Flynn “called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times”. Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak took place on the same day that the Obama administration announced new sanctions against Russia, including the expulsion of 35 Russians, in retaliation for interfering with the Russian elections.
The Trump campaign rejected Biden’s statement, saying that the Democratic nominee’s alleged “flaccid claim that he doesn’t know anything about General Michael Flynn’s railroad has become even more incredible.”
“We already knew that Biden knew about the Flynn case before President Trump took office and now we know he wanted to have Flynn unmasked,” Trump campaign leader Brad Parscale said in a statement.
The Justice Department made the controversial move last week to say it would drop the criminal case against Flynn, who had found guilty of lying to the FBI in 2017 about his Russian contacts, but withdrew his allegation earlier this year.