Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka told Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr that President Trump wants Congress to investigate Barack Obama’s surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition team based on specific actions and incidents.
“We have identified an incredibly disturbing fact pattern,” said Gorka.
“This is not anything that we have determined; it is a fact pattern that has been reported by British newspapers, by Fox television, the Washington Post, the New York Times,” he said. “That fact pattern leads to the potential of the intelligence community’s elements being exploited by the highest levels for political gain during a campaign season.”
Gorka said he was amused by how Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and other staffers from the last administration have taken to the airwaves, social media, and print to denigrate the qualifications of the Trump national security team. “Ben Rhodes was basically a bus driver for the Obama campaign who had a master’s degree in fiction writing.”
Gorka, the author of the 2016 book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, said the White House trusts Congress to move forward with its investigation.
“We have nothing more to add to this because now we are asking Congress to exercise its oversight mandate and investigate these charges,” he said. “We wish Congress to get to the bottom of this because it is one of the most dangerous things in any democracy when the intelligence community is exploited by politicians for their own political gain.”
Gorka spoke to Carr after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement on the matter:
Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. President Donald J. 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. Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.
The host of the Howie Carr Show asked Gorka about how he reacts to the statements by former director of national intelligence James Clapper’s flat denial of that the Obama administration ever obtained a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judge to wiretap on the Trump team.
“Now, he says there was nothing going on at Trump Tower, do you believe him?” Carr asked.
Carr said Clapper was the man who told Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) in 2013 under oath that there was no surveillance of Americans by the federal government–a statement he retracted. “Is he telling the truth this time? Or is he lying again?”
Gorka told Carr that based on Clapper’s track record, there is no way of knowing whether he is telling the truth.
It is also significant to remember that the highest positions in the intelligence committee are filled with political appointees, he said.
“When you look at an individual like Clapper or John Brennan or Ben Rhodes, they may have a background in a specific sphere–expect for Ben Rhodes, of course–but, nevertheless, these are politically appointed individuals and as such, they must be differentiated from the career individuals beneath them, who are just doing their jobs.” John Brennan was Obama’s CIA director.
Gorka, who was worked at the Hungarian defense ministry and was a professor at Washington’s Institue of World Politics before joining the Trump administration, said it is important to recognize that for months there have been loose accusations connecting the Russians with the Trump campaign without any solid evidence.
“There is no smoking gun,” he said. “Nothing. None.”