Former Obama Official Bragged about Intelligence Gathering on Trump—Before Obama Left Office

In a March 2 interview with MSNBC, for which network she is also an analyst, Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration, and also an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, boasted that she and her colleagues had gathered as much intelligence as possible on President-elect Donald Trump’s “ties to Russia” before Obama left office on Jan. 20. After her interview became a focus of media attention last week, and was referenced by the Trump administration as evidence that Trump had been spied on, Farkas tried to backtrack, claiming she never handled any intelligence, and had left the Obama administration in 2015.

Her interview would seem to belie that. Now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, Farkas manically told MSNBC that she had urged former colleagues, and “frankly speaking, the people on the Hill—it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people—to get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves our administration.” She claimed she feared that “somehow the information would disappear with the senior [obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy—that the Trump folks—if they found out how we knew what we knew about…the Trump staff dealing with the Russians–that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.” The goal, she continued, was to transmit all the information gathered on Trump’s team to as many political operatives, lawmakers, and Congressional staffers on Capitol Hill prior to January 20.

“We have very good intelligence on Russia,” she said. “I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open… So then I talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.” Farkas insisted that Trump’s connection to Russian money was “at the heart” of the investigation. If he got money from Russians close to the Kremlin to bail out his debt, and this influenced him, “and he’s hiding this,” she warned, then this will require a major investigation—something far bigger than can be handled by Congress. Something like the 9/11 Commission will be required to conduct this “big, big investigation,” she argued.

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