Donald Trump
Credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr

We ought to be familiar with the Troll-in-Chief’s act by now:

President Donald Trump questioned Monday morning why the Obama-era Justice Department launched an investigation into his campaign in the midst of the 2016 election, positing that then-President Barack Obama had sought to kneecap the Trump campaign and bolster that of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November?” Trump wrote on Twitter, leveling allegations that dispute previously reported details. “Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling.”

I’m on my third out of what is predicted to be five days without electricity here in the Philadelphia suburbs. It’s now under forty degrees in my house, so my creative juices are a little impaired. Briefly, I can answer the president’s questions by pointing out that his top foreign policy adviser secretly took tens of thousands of dollars from the Kremlin to appear on Russian cable news programs which, as a former military officer, he was not allowed to do. That means he was subject to blackmail. Trump’s campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman ripped off a mob-connected Russian oligarch for about $16 million and were desperate to pay him back. They changed the Republican platform and offered him free clandestine briefings in lieu of cash while they committed rampant bank crimes to try to raise the money they needed to avoid whatever happens to people who owe Russian mobsters millions of dollars and don’t pay up. All of these gentlemen have been indicted and two of them have pleaded guilty.

In addition to this, one of the president’s foreign policy advisers told an Australian ambassador in London that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton and would be releasing it. Another foreign policy advisor traveled to Moscow and Budapest and met with top Russian officials.

Then there’s the crazy ass stuff the president was saying about Putin and Russia which made no sense whatsoever. The U.S. intelligence community was a little slow on the uptake during the election, it’s true. But they eventually sniffed out the basic outlines of what was happening.

And, to answer your last question, the Obama administration didn’t do nothing. What they did would have been stronger if Mitch McConnell hadn’t refused to show a united front. Instead, McConnell threatened to accuse Obama of being political if he went to the American people and told them what the Russians were up to.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at