What is Obamagate? What Donald Trump has said about Barack Obama on Twitter, and the feud over Michael Flynn explained

As the number of confirmed deaths relating to Covid-19 in the United States approached 80,000, President Donald Trump fired off a series of Tweets targeting his predecessor Barack Obama.
President Donald Trump was questioned about the term 'Obamagate' at a coronavirus daily press briefing (Getty Images)President Donald Trump was questioned about the term 'Obamagate' at a coronavirus daily press briefing (Getty Images)
President Donald Trump was questioned about the term 'Obamagate' at a coronavirus daily press briefing (Getty Images)

In one post the president simply tweeted "OBAMAGATE!"

The 45th President of the United States later attempted to clarify his post and further claims about the former White House occupant at a typically fiery daily press briefing.

What does President Donald Trump mean by Obamagate?

In the President's own words Obamagate is in reference to “the biggest political crime in American history, by far”, a crime which makes Watergate "look small time".

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'Gate' is a suffix used to describe political scandals, suggesting unethical behaviour in a similar vein to the scandal which brought an end to President Richard Nixon's presidency.

The Washington Post's Philip Rucker asked for further detail on this claim and the President responded with a longwinded and vague claim.

President Trump said: "Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time.

"It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again.

"And you’ll be seeing what’s going on over the next, over the coming weeks but I, and I wish you’d write honestly about it but unfortunately you choose not to do so."

Rucker pushed the president to state the crime that he was accusing Mr Obama of, to which President Trump replied: "You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours."

Reaction to Russia investigation

In previous Tweets the President provided some form of clarity on what it is that he's accusing Mr Obama of.

The term is apparently in reference to claims that the former President had incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn probed by the Justice Department in late 2016.

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President Trump retweeted claims that the outgoing administration had made efforts to sabotage the incoming administration.

Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

Flynn, who vigorously campaigned at Mr Trump's side and then served as his first national security adviser, said members of the president's inner circle were intimately involved with - and at times directing - his contacts.

The retired general's plea to a single felony count of false statements made him the first official of Mr Trump's White House to be charged in the criminal investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Flynn has since backed out of his original plea with the justice department dropping charges against the former security adviser.

US judge Emmet Sullivan has since expressed reluctance to drop charges, asking former federal judge John Gleeson to advise on whether the former Trump administration official should face perjury charges.

President Trump's comments came in the wake of criticism from Barack Obama who said that “rule of law is at risk”, as a result of the justice department's ruling. He was also scathing of the current President's Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic labelling it “an absolute chaotic disaster”.

Reaction to Trump's claims

Though the President has received unwavering support from his hardcore base of followers - the term Obamagate trended worldwide following the President's tweets - fellow Republicans have been reluctant to respond directly to questions over President Trump's tweets.

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said that he did not anticipate calling President Obama as part of an ongoing investigation into the origins of the 2016 Russia Investigation.

Several Republican officials followed suit including Senate Majority Whip John Thune who said: “That’s already being looked at, and we’ve got relevant committees up here that are taking a look at some of those issues too. I always think that at the end, eventually the truth comes out, and I’m sure it will here too."

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