US President Donald Trump urges probe into Barack Obama’s Russia ties

March 5, 2017 8:30 pm

President departs off Air Force One after arriving in Orlando, Florida, before heading to St. Andrew Catholic School, March 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

US President Donald Trump has called for an investigation into his predecessor Barack Obama’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to downplay similar allegations about members of his own cabinet.
“Who was it that secretly said to Russian President, ‘Tell Vladimir that after the election I’ll have more flexibility’?” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday morning.
Before being elected for a second term in 2012, Obama had told then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would show more “flexibility” towards Moscow on, among other issues, Washington’s missile systems across Europe.
The statement on Sunday was an extension of Trump’s relentless attacks against the former president from the previous day.
On Saturday, Trump accused Obama of wire-tapping his presidential campaign prior to the November 8 election, when Trump was running against his Democratic rival, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meeting with his US counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, September 5, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Back then, the Obama administration backed claims by the Clinton campaign that Trump’s staffs were in connection with Russia
Trump’s wiretapping claims against Obama raised many eyebrows, with officials from the both sides of the aisle warning him to either provide his evidence or face the possible consequences.
White House backed the new Republican president’s claim, with Press Secretary Sean Spicer urging Congress to investigate Obama’s possible “abuse” of his investigative powers.
“President Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016,” he said in multiple tweets on Sunday.
Obama’s spokesman Kevin Lewis firmly rejected Trump’s claim, saying the former president never authorized surveillance of any US citizen.
This is while, it was under the Obama administration that the US National Security Agency (NSA)’s extensive surveillance program against American and foreign nationals was exposed by security contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to Russia.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen,” Lewis said. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Allegations about Trump’s ties with Russia were renewed this week, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was accused of not disclosing his meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the US last year.
Mike Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was fired last month for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his meetings with the Russian envoy.
Trump said Saturday that the Russian ambassador had “visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.”
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