With the US Presidential elections drawing near, President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama have been making headlines. As Trump grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the former President has spoken out against the current situation in the country - highlighting racial prejudices, calling for voting reforms and more.
As his former Vice President draws closer to a November 2020 showdown with Trump, Obama's birthday seems a perfect time to explore what Donald Trump calls "the biggest political crime in American history", or in other words, Obamagate.
Now the suffix gate is often associated with Nixon's Watergate, and presumably this was Trump's inspiration. But what is Obamagate? Well, even Trump does not seem to be very clear on this.
It appears to have begun with the US justice department dropping charges against Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. He had incidentally been fired in 2017 after it was revealed that he had lied about conversations with the Russian Ambassador. Reacting to this, Obama had struck a concerned note reportedly stating that the "rule of law was at risk", while also questioning the President's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What followed was a barrage of Tweets from the President where he waxed poetic about the "biggest political crime in American history, by far". The tweets - sent out from his personal handle - varied in content. While one merely screamed "Obamagate" in block letters with exclamation points behind it, others elaborated further.
Incidentally this tweet had been re-posted on different days.
"He got caught, OBAMAGATE!" read another post.
Here, Trump was responding to a Twitter user who said that Obama was the first former President who had spoken out against his successor.
Trump and his administration had focused on newly disclosed FBI documents of interviews with Flynn. And they claim that he was the victim of dirty cops.
While the former NSA had pleaded guilty to making false statements in a charge brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller, he has now backtracked. Around the time of the 'Obamagate' allegations, Flynn had claimed that he had not been lying in the first instance, adding that he wished to back out of his guilty plea.
It remains a tad bit confusing however what the POTUS was accusing Obama of, or what he had gotten caught for. But Trump had taken it upon himself to retweet conspiracy theories and allegations about Obama's supposed involvement in the investigation that was looking into Russian interference in the 2016 polls.
"If I were a Senator or Congressman, the first person I would call to testify about the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR, is former President Obama. He knew EVERYTHING. Do it @LindseyGrahamSC, just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk!" he tweeted on May 14. It is not clear what Obama would be testifying for.
To quote a rather illuminating statement made by Trump to a Washington Post reporter during a briefing in May, "You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.” Calling it a "disgrace" he added that it had been going on for a long time -- even before he was elected.
It must also be mentioned that while the investigation into alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign had begun during the Obama era, it had continued well into the Trump's administration. And the much debated Flynn had been appointed by Trump’s own deputy attorney general.