"Impeach!" It's been more than eight years since Democrats uttered that word – long enough for anyone to wonder if it was still in their vocabulary, considering the deafening silence through the dozens of serious scandals during President Obama's administration – but now that President Trump is the man in the White House, it's back with a vengeance.
Democrats everywhere are wildly slinging the "I" word, hoping to nail Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors after the New York Times claimed a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey said the president urged him to end the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Some members of Congress are getting in on the action. They include Reps. Maxine Water, D-Calif., and Al Green, D-Texas. Even a Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, claimed Wednesday there are grounds to impeach President Trump. House Oversign Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked for the alleged Comey memo and other documents. Chaffetz tweeted that he is prepared to subpoena the information. And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., invoked "Watergate."
Now the Democratic Party is reportedly poll testing impeachment as a 2018 election issue. More than 1 million people signed a petition calling on Congress to impeach Trump.
Wasting no time Wednesday, the mainstream media sprang into action, enthusiastically echoing the left's impeachment calls. MSNBC launched a Watergate ad implying Trump is America's new Richard Nixon.
"Watergate. We know its name because there were reporters who never stopped asking questions," says MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who hinted that Trump is next on the impeachment chopping block. "Now, who knows where the questions will take us. But I know this: I'm not going to stop asking them."
Meanwhile, some overzealous members of the left plastered fliers around Washington, D.C., demanding all White House staffers resign Wednesday.
The posters read: "If you work for this White House you are complicit in hate-mongering, lies, corrupt taking of Americans' tax money via self-dealing and emoluments, and quite possibly federal crimes and treason. Also, any wars will be on your soul. … Resign now."
But constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, who voted for President Obama, warned "impeachment" enthusiasts not to get ahead of themselves with President Trump. Why?
At this time, there's no evidence Trump actually committed a crime.
"The criminal code demands more than what Comey reportedly describes in his memo," Turley wrote in a May 17 opinion piece posted at the Hill. Turley explained:
For the first time, the Comey memo pushes the litany of controversies surrounding Trump into the scope of the United States criminal code.
However, if this is food for obstruction of justice, it is still an awfully thin soup. Some commentators seem to be alleging criminal conduct in office or calling for impeachment before Trump completed the words of his inaugural oath of office. Not surprising, within minutes of the New York Times report, the response was a chorus of breathless "gotcha" announcements. But this memo is neither the Pentagon Papers nor the Watergate tapes. Indeed, it raises as many questions for Comey as it does Trump in terms of the alleged underlying conduct.
A good place to start would be with the federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 1503. The criminal code demands more than what Comey reportedly describes in his memo. There are dozens of different variations of obstruction charges ranging from threatening witnesses to influencing jurors. None would fit this case. That leaves the omnibus provision on attempts to interfere with the "due administration of justice."
However, that still leaves the need to show that the effort was to influence "corruptly" when Trump could say that he did little but express concern for a longtime associate. The term "corruptly" is actually defined differently under the various obstruction provisions, but it often involves a showing that someone acted "with the intent to secure an unlawful benefit for oneself or another." Encouraging leniency or advocating for an associate is improper but not necessarily seeking an unlawful benefit for him.
While Turley said a request from Trump to the FBI director to end such an investigation would be "wildly inappropriate," he cautioned: "[W]e need to move beyond the hyperventilated pronouncements of criminal conduct or impeachable offenses based on this memo. This conversation in the Oval Office is a valid matter of concern and worthy of further investigation. It is not proof of an impeachable offense any more than it is proof of a crime."
Andrew C. McCarthy led the prosecution of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plots to blow up other New York City landmarks. He told WND and Radio America Wednesday the Comey memo and alleged Trump statements about Flynn are a far cry from constituting obstruction of justice.
"I don't think we're close to being there yet because, even though I am sure that then-Director Comey must have found the conversation with President Trump to be awkward and inappropriate, I don't think there's anything corrupt about it," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said it's hard to draw any sweeping conclusions from a few scraps of a conversation.
"The most important thing about obstruction of justice is context. We don't really have context here. We have one statement that's mined out of what must be a larger memo," he said.
He said there needs to be concrete evidence of corruption to pursue obstruction of justice allegations.
"Corruption is the heart of obstruction of justice," McCarthy explained. "The person has to act intentionally, knowing that what he's doing is wrong, and intend to subvert the truth-seeking process."
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Andrew McCarthy:
Talk-show host Mark Levin said the latest attacks on Trump reveal a glaring double standard.
"Remember, the whole point here is to take out Trump," Levin said on his show Tuesday. "The whole point is to destroy the man's character and his reputation. ‘He must be an incompetent boob.' ‘He shoots from the hip.' ‘Maybe he's even working with the Russians, giving them information – it's just so absurd.
"Did Barack Obama ever have a situation like this?" Levin asked, noting how the mainstream media go wild almost every day with reports of some Trump misstep. "The media frenzy never existed. It never occurred. It just didn't happen."
WND has assembled the following list of 25 egregious scandals and violations committed under President Obama's administration – and few ever sparked widespread calls for the nation's 44th president to be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Obama's Iran nuke deal
On July 14, 2015, the Obama administration negotiated and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, a nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and the "P5+1," which included France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, and the European Union. The Obama administration pushed the deal through and agreed to major terms without consulting with the U.S. Senate. The White House championed the plan as "the historic deal that will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."
Obama later conceded that the deal he sought with Iran would not prevent the jihadist theocracy from obtaining nuclear weapons, but said it would delay that by 10 to 15 years.
As part of the deal, Iran made commitments with regard to its nuclear program, including reduction of low-enriched uranium stockpiles to 300 kilograms, limits on future enrichment of uranium to 3.67 percent, storage of centrifuges for 10 years, restrictions on research and development and monitoring and inspections. Iran also agreed to rebuild its Arak nuclear reactor so its core cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium and transform its Fordow facility into a research center. In exchange, Iran was promised sanctions relief and the unfreezing of up to $150 billion in assets. The agreement allowed Iran to continue its uranium enrichment – a major sticking point for opponents who cite Iran's status as a state sponsor of terrorism and its repeated threats against the U.S. and her ally, Israel.
But the Obama administration has kept secret many unclassified documents related to the deal. Members of the public and even some congressional staffers cannot access the files held in secure areas on Capitol Hill known as Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, or SCIF. Even some top Democratic Party lawmakers called on President Trump to release the documents in January.
"Unless there's a damn good reason to keep them out of the public eye, turn them over," said Jon Tester, D-Mont., the Weekly Standard reported. "I'm more on the side of transparency than not, that is for sure. ... But that's a first blush, not really knowing what's in them."
In September 2016, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that the Obama administration allowed Iran to exceed limits imposed by the deal so as to claim Tehran was still in compliance with the terms. The Obama administration dismissed the institute's report.
"The administration was really nasty after we released these documents," David Albright, founder and president of the institute, told the Weekly Standard. "It was very tough for us to get the information. ... I think that is we hadn't released, they had every intention to keep it secret. They may have given lip service to openness, but I think their intention was to keep it secret."
Albright continued: "You have to ask the question of, what else is being hidden? The administration did it to try to minimize the chance that people would know what was in these decisions, and certainly keep these people from talking to people like me in the technical community that can actually interpret what's in those decisions."
The Obama administration reportedly allowed Iran to keep low-enriched uranium disallowed under the 2015 deal, including uranium "deemed unrecoverable" for use in making nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iran promised to not try to recover the uranium. However, that language is not in the actual Iran deal. Other revelations indicated Obama made a secret side deal with Iran, allowing it to decide which nuclear sites to inspect and letting Iran do its own inspections at the Parchin site, where experts suspect Iran has been developing nuclear arms. The side deal also reportedly let Iran provide its own photos and videos of suspect locations, while "taking into account military concerns."
Obama knew about Hillary's private email server
As WND reported, five days after the New York Times disclosed the existence of Hillary Clinton's private email server, Obama told CBS News on March 7, 2015, that he learned about it at "the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports."
That was not true, because Obama himself had exchanged emails with Clinton on the server. And he even used a fake name, for reasons never explained.
The White House later claimed Obama meant to say he did know of the server, just not the details.
One of the nation's top legal minds, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, told WND the FBI cleared Clinton not because she was innocent, but because the president was also guilty.
"Hillary couldn't be proven guilty without proving the president guilty as well," he wrote, adding, "Any possibility of prosecuting Hillary Clinton was tanked by President Obama's conflict of interest."
A March 4, 2015, bombshell email released by WikiLeaks confirmed that assessment. The email was sent by Clinton's eventual campaign manager, John Podesta, to her attorney Cheryl Mills, asking if they should decline to turn over emails between Clinton and Obama sent over her private server.
Podesta suggested invoking "executive privilege" to withhold the emails just one day after the House Benghazi Committee had told Clinton to provide all her emails.
Podesta's email read: "Think we should hold emails to and from potus [president of the United States]? That's the heart of his exec privilege. We could get them to ask for that. They may not care, but I(t) seems like they will."
Mills did not answer Podesta's email, but the emails between Obama and Clinton were never turned over to the Benghazi committee. Eighteen such emails were turned over the State Department, which refused to release them.
McCarthy told WND, "This confirms what I have said all along: President Obama was engaged in the same reckless conduct as then-Secretary Clinton: engaging in exchanges of highly sensitive information – information that is presumptively classified under the president's own executive order – over a non-secure, non-government system."
He added, "That is why Huma Abedin was so stunned when she learned about it, asking as anyone with a security clearance would ask: 'How is that not classified?'"
In an interview with WND and Radio America on May 17, McCarthy said Obama arguably took more egregious actions with respect to Clinton than Trump did with the Flynn investigation.
"In a few ways, the Obama situation with Hillary Clinton is worse than what we've heard about here [with the Flynn investigation]," McCarthy said. "What Obama did was make a very public statement, which is obviously a statement to his subordinates as well as everyone else, that he didn't want Mrs. Clinton prosecuted and didn't think she should be prosecuted.
"He articulated a legal theory for why she shouldn't be prosecuted, this claim that she wasn't trying to harm the United States and that her classified emails, while they exhibited carelessness on her part, were really a small part of a much larger overall picture and had been exaggerated out of proportion," McCarthy said.
He said that same logic was used again a few months later.
"Lo and behold three months later, when Director Comey announced his view that Mrs. Clinton shouldn't be prosecuted, he adopted precisely the legal reasoning Obama had announced three months before."
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Andrew McCarthy:
Obama IRS targets conservatives
In 2010, the Internal Revenue Service began subjecting tea-party and conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status. The IRS later issued an apology and blamed mistakes on low-level employees. But it fought for more than five years demands for full disclosure and documents sought by tea-party groups.
In March of 2016, a federal appeals court accused the IRS of stonewalling the release of lists of tax-exempt organizations targeted for political scrutiny and scolded the tax agency for compounding an offense by continuing to fight disclosure.
The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, could proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who represented the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith and compounding its violation of the law
"Among the most serious allegations a federal court can address are that an executive agency has targeted citizens for mistreatment based on their political views," wrote Judge Raymond M. Kethledge in a unanimous decision. "No citizen – Republican or Democrat, socialist or libertarian – should be targeted or even have to fear being targeted on those grounds. Yet those are the grounds on which the plaintiffs allege they were mistreated by the IRS here. The allegations are substantial: most are drawn from findings made by the Treasury Department's own inspector general for tax administration. Those findings include that the IRS used political criteria to round up applications for tax-exempt status filed by so-called tea-party groups; that the IRS often took four times as long to process tea-party applications as other applications; and that the IRS served tea-party applicants with crushing demands for what the Inspector General called ‘unnecessary information.'"
Kethledge wrote in his opinion that the IRS' conduct since the original offense has "only compounded the conduct" that gave rise to complaint in the first place.
"The lawsuit has progressed as slowly as the underlying applications themselves: at every turn the IRS has resisted the plaintiffs' requests for information regarding the IRS's treatment of the plaintiff class, eventually to the open frustration of the district court," wrote Kethledge. "At issue here are IRS 'Be On the Lookout' lists of organizations allegedly targeted for unfavorable treatment because of their political beliefs. Those organizations in turn make up the plaintiff class. The district court ordered production of those lists, and did so again over an IRS motion to reconsider. Yet, almost a year later, the IRS still has not complied with the court's orders. Instead the IRS now seeks from this court a writ of mandamus, an extraordinary remedy reserved to correct only the clearest abuses of power by a district court. We deny the petition."
"In 2010, the IRS began to pay unusual attention to 501(c) applications from groups with certain political affiliations," Kethledge wrote. "As found by the inspector general, the IRS 'developed and used inappropriate criteria to identify applications from organizations with 'Tea Party' in their names. ... As to the policy positions, the IRS gave heightened scrutiny to organizations concerned with 'government spending, government debt or taxes,' lobbying to 'make America a better place to live or 'criticiz[ing] how the country is being run.'"
WND reported in November 2016 that the IRS is accused of continuing to shoot down advocates of conservative causes, especially if they have the words "tea party" in their names, even to this day. In April 2017, the government watchdog Judicial Watch released 695 pages of documents with admissions from IRS officials that the agency used "inappropriate political labels" to screen the applications. The records were just the first batch of about 7,000 documents that Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said were "hidden from JW (Judicial Watch), Congress and the American people."
After detailing some of the most explosive revelations in the documents, Fitton wrote: "No wonder the Obama IRS hid these records. These new smoking-gun documents contain admissions by the Obama IRS that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups. But the records also show that the abuse continued – as the Obama IRS tried to force conservative applicants to give up their First Amendment rights in order to finally get their applications granted."
Obama's DOJ spies on AP reporters
Just months before the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration reportedly spied on Associated Press reporters.
WND reported when the AP said the Justice Department secretly seized two months of reporters' and editors' telephone records without explanation in April and May 2012. In the AP's report on the scandal, President and CEO Gary Pruitt called the Justice Department's move "a massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
Pruitt wrote a letter to former Attorney General Eric Holder demanding the records and all copies be returned. According to the AP: "News organizations normally are notified ahead of time that the government wants phone records and enter into negotiations over the requested information. In this case, however, the government, in its letter to the AP, cited an exemption to those rules that holds that prior notification can be waived if such notice, in the exemption's wording, might 'pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation.'"
More than 100 journalists who reported on government and other matters worked in offices the administration targeted. While Justice Department rules call for subpoenas of news records to be approved by Holder, it's unclear whether he ordered the action.
"There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters," Pruitt told Holder at the time. "These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP's newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP's activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know."
According to reports, the Obama administration didn't provide a reason for the seizure or reveal whether a judge or a grand jury signed off on the subpoenas.
"Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot," the AP reported. "The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
"In testimony in February , CIA Director John Brennan noted that the FBI had questioned him about whether he was AP's source, which he denied. He called the release of the information to the media about the terror plot an 'unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.'"
The AP said the 2012 terror plot was "significant both because of its seriousness and also because the White House previously had told the public it had 'no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the (May 2) anniversary of bin Laden's death.'"
According to the news organization, the story was written by reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with contributions from reporters Kimberly Dozier, Eileen Sullivan and Alan Fram. Those reporters, along with editor Ted Bridis, had their phone records seized.
Obamacare & Obama's false promises
Politifact rated President Obama's promise, "If you like your health plan, you can keep it," as its "Lie of the Year" in 2013. Obama repeated the claim dozens of times, as well as promising, "If you like your doctor, you can keep him," which also turned out to be untrue.
Obamacare was supposed to cut costs and insure more people. Instead, premiums skyrocketed and more than five million people lost their heath insurance coverage.
While the uninsured were forced to sign up for Obamacare or face a tax penalty, House Speaker John Boehner has said he believes there are actually fewer people insured than before Obamacare took effect, despite the fact the Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will cost taxpayers $1.207 trillion by 2025.
The roll-out of the Obamacare website was a legendary disaster. Only a handful of people were even able to access the website after its debut. And now even supporters of Obamacare admit the individual health insurance market is unsustainable and failing.
Obama repeatedly vowed to reduce Americans' health insurance premiums by up to $2,500 a year:
However, according to a 2016 survey, most Americans haven't seen that financial benefit. Most respondents said their benefits, premiums, co-pays and deductibles "stayed about the same." A full 45 percent saw increased premiums; 35 percent reported increased co-pays and deductibles; and just 16 percent said their benefits increased.
On May 9, Bloomberg reported states such as Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia are seeing exploding premiums – at rates of 24 percent, 45 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
Illegal-alien amnesty by executive order
In June 2012, Obama issued an executive order declaring that illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before they turned 16 and who are younger than 30 would not be deported. They are eligible for a two-year work permit that can be renewed indefinitely under the program called Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Arguing that children of illegal aliens "study in our schools, play in our neighborhoods, befriend our kids, pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said, "it makes no sense to expel talented young people who are, for all intents and purposes, Americans."
Obama's executive order mimics some of the provisions in the DREAM Act, which failed to pass in Congress.
"I definitely think it's a very troublesome precedent because the president basically said, ‘Listen, even though the statute doesn't just carve out an automatic exemption from deportation for this category of individuals, I'm just going to decide unilaterally that I will not deport them.' Really?" legal scholar Bruce Fein told WND in 2013. "Could you decide you don't want to enforce the homicide statute for a certain category of people as well?
"That seems to me to fall into a serious category of failure to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' It's one thing, given limited resources and the number of illegals, to just say, ‘We've got limited resources, and as a matter of practical discussion, we've got to look at 1, 2, 3, 4.' But you still have an individualized determination. That happens in the U.S. Attorney's office all the time when crimes are committed. But just as a wholesale statement: ‘We just don't want to enforce the law'?"
"Could the president stand up and say, ‘You know what? I just don't want to enforce the Voting Rights Act anymore. It's just too much of a hassle'?"
On Sept. 11, 2012, a U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were brutally murdered at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
Just three days after the attack, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney accused an anti-Muslim video on YouTube of inciting the attack. On Sept. 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice made five television appearances in which she claimed the attacks were spontaneous reactions to the obscure film. Obama mentioned the YouTube video six more times at the U.N. on Sept. 25.
However, there was never any kind of protest at the Benghazi compound that night.
During congressional hearings in January in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally was questioned about the calamity on her watch, Clinton claimed she didn't see a classified State Department cable sent Aug. 16 that said the Benghazi mission could not defend against a "coordinated attack."
However, the State Department's Charlene Lamb reportedly observed the attack in near real time.
Lt. Col. Tony Schaefer told Fox News that Obama watched the attack from the situation room: "I hate to say this, according to my sources, yes, (the president) was one of those in the White House situation room in real-time watching this. And the question becomes, ‘What did the president do or not do in the moments he saw this unveiling?' He – only he – could issue a directive to Secretary of Defense Panetta to do something."
However, in their testimonies before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said they only spoke with Obama once during the attack in a phone call. Obama spent the following day fundraising in Las Vegas.
In response to questions from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Panetta said Obama didn't ask about military options or deploying assets.
"He just left that up to us," Panetta said.
The New York Post confirmed that a U.S. military drone had been relaying real-time data to Washington, D.C.
After the administration had blamed the YouTube video for sparking the assault, columnist and pundit Pat Buchanan wrote: "[I]if there was no protest, who sent Carney out to blame the attack on the protest? And if there was no protest, who programmed Rice and put her on five separate Sunday talk shows to attribute the massacre to a protest that never happened?
"If real-time intelligence and U.S. agents at the scene knew it was premeditated, preplanned terrorism by Sept. 12, who told Rice to deny specifically on Sept. 16 that the attack was premeditated or preplanned?"
As WND reported, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., charged that the Obama administration appeared to be covering up a gun-running scheme that fell apart when jihadists attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
Andrew McCarthy is a former assistant U.S. attorney who served as the lead prosecutor of the terrorists behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
In 2012, he wrote: "I do think Benghazi could be an impeachable scandal, and I don't think this is an extreme position.
"We do not yet have the answers about what happened on September 11 – most significantly, when did the commander-in-chief learn of the terrorist attack on the compound and what action did he take to defend Americans who were besieged for over seven hours under circumstances where there were U.S. military assets an hour away? We also do not know how the Mohammed movie cover-up was orchestrated, although the evidence and common sense point to the White House. With four Americans killed and the nation appallingly misled in the stretch-run of a presidential campaign, this is a far more consequential matter than those that led to the Watergate and Lewinsky investigations. A commander-in-chief's dereliction of duty and his administration's intentional lying to the American people – to say nothing of its overbearing prosecution of the filmmaker in a transparent effort to shift responsibility to him – would be impeachable offenses if they are proved."
Operation Fast & Furious
In June 2012, the Obama administration invoked executive privilege to stop disclosure of documentation to Congress following Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking scheme that resulted in the deaths of as many as 100 people, including U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
During the botched operation, the Justice Department's subdivision of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lost approximately 2,000 weapons, allowing many of them to flow freely across the U.S.-Mexico border and into the hands of members of Mexican drug cartels.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen chose to ignore the criminal resolution and not bring charges against Holder.
The Obama administration filed a motion to block a lawsuit by Judicial Watch demanding enforcement of a June 22, 2012, Freedom of Information Act request seeking all documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, and "specifically all records subject to the claim of executive privilege invoked by President Obama on or about June 20, 2012." In April 2016, Obama backed off his claims of executive privilege.
5 Taliban leaders for Bergdahl
In May 2014, the Obama administration swapped five Taliban commanders previously detained in Guantanamo Bay for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has since been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
The deal triggered a deep level of disgust by Americans for Obama. A WND/Wenzel Poll at the time showed 54 percent of Americans said Obama's swap for Bergdahl amounted to providing aid to terrorists.
Jury selection in Bergdahl's case begins in October, and he could face a life sentence.
As WND reported in September 2015, retired Col. David Hunt said Bergdahl actually joined the Taliban, and recordings prove it.
Further, he said, the government failed to make use of that evidence against Bergdahl.
"June 30, 2009, Bergdahl deserts his post in southeast Afghanistan," Hunt said in an appearance on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show. "July 1st and 2nd, in a standard briefing to a commander of his unit, Fourth Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, we have tapes of Taliban talking on Bergdahl's phone saying that Bergdahl wanted to join them. And we have the Taliban on their own phones talking about Bergdahl trying to join them."
Hunt said the information was known July 2.
Asked by O'Reilly how the tapes were obtained, Hunt didn't elaborate, except to say there are government programs that provide such information.
Hunt explained, "There are programs, we've been doing it since World War II, in which we listen to the enemy, and people who are speaking Pashtun and ... whatever language the Taliban in that section are using, were listening because they were told to and they were also listening to Bergdahl's phone.
"What they heard was the Taliban on Bergdahl's phone because he had joined them by then. And then the Taliban on separate phones talking about him. So it's a military program."
Extortion 17 was the call sign for a helicopter shot down by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.
Thirty U.S. Special Forces soldiers were among those killed, including members of SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden.
Family members of the deceased believe the Obama administration put a target on the back of SEAL Team 6, and the deaths were payback for the killing of bin Laden.
They blamed the Obama administration for recklessly identifying who killed the famous terrorist leader.
"American warrior blood is pooling in the Oval Office," said Billy Vaughn, whose son Aaron was killed in the crash.
‘Recess ‘ appointments – when Senate was in session
The Constitution allows the president to nominate judges and executive branch officials, but the Senate must confirm his nominees. Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution authorizes the president to "fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate."
But while the Senate was in session in January 2012, Obama made recess appointments of Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the National Labor Relations Board.
Obama argued that because the Senate had been convening every three days, the pro forma sessions didn't allow any business to take place, so the Senate should be considered in recess.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Obama's three NLRB recess appointments violated the Constitution because they weren't made when the Senate was in recess. Now the Supreme Court has received a petition asking the justices to consider the decision.
The NLRB said it "respectfully disagrees" with the D.C. Circuit's ruling and would proceed with business as usual because it trusted "the president's position in the matter will ultimately be upheld."
Appointment of ‘czars' without Senate approval
Obama also appointed more than 30 unelected "czars" to positions in federal agencies while the Constitution requires that such appointments be vetted by Congress. Article II, Section 2, allows the president to appoint ambassadors, judges and other officers "with the Advice and Consent of the Senate."
"Congress clearly has the authority to say, ‘No money shall go to pay the salaries of X, Y, Z unless they're subject to Senate confirmation,'" legal scholar Bruce Fein told WND in 2013. "That's really one where Congress, by its negligence, is not insisting on accountability."
Constitutional expert Louis Fisher told WND: "That is a big deal. A lot of people say, ‘Well, that's been going on a long time.' In our form of government, citizens vote for representatives, and representatives pass laws. You have people heading departments, and they're confirmed. There's an understanding that we will call you up whenever we need to. So there's accountability through that process.
"Congress passed legislation saying there'd be no funds for three czars, and they were named in the bill. Obama signed it into the law, but in the signing statement, he said that's unconstitutional because he has the ‘prerogative' to get the advice he needs to implement statutes. Well, c'mon Obama. You don't have a prerogative to bring into the White House anybody you want at any salary. It's all done by law. It goes back to 1978 where Congress passed legislation saying you have this number of people and these are their salaries and Congress can increase or decrease that at any time.
"I think Obama had no idea what he was doing when he was using the word ‘prerogative.' He can get all the advice he wants in the private sector, but Congress decides how many aides the president will have and what salaries they get."
Suing Arizona for enforcing federal law
In April 2010, Arizona adopted an immigration law designed to discourage illegal aliens from entering the state. The law, known as S.B. 1070, authorized state police officers to verify a person's immigration status with federal authorities and detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.
When the state senate passed the bill, President Obama's administration immediately sued and enjoined the state from enforcing portions of the state's legislation.
The Constitution does not prohibit states from supporting enforcement of federal laws. The 10th Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Just one week after it sued Arizona, Obama's Justice Department said it would not pursue "sanctuary cities" that openly violate federal law by protecting illegal aliens.
"There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law," Tracy Schmaler, spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Holder, told the Washington Times. "That's what Arizona did in this case."
The Supreme Court weighed in on the matter in June 2012, rejecting key portions of the Arizona law but upholding the provision allowing police officers to check immigration status.
Refusal to defend Defense of Marriage Act
President Obama announced in 2011 that his administration believed the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, to be unconstitutional and instructed the Justice Department to no longer defend it in court.
DOMA, which was passed in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, says states will not be forced to recognize homosexual marriages performed in other states, and the federal government doesn't recognize such unions. The Supreme Court is expected to determine whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection this spring.
The law had been on Obama's radar for several years; he promised to repeal DOMA during his 2008 campaign for president.
In February 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement:
"After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The president has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the president's determination."
After the Obama administration refused to defend the law, House leaders instructed the House general counsel to take up the case.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. even raised the possibility of impeaching Obama over his refusal to defend DOMA. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Congress should "confront" Obama, "threatening to zero out" the budget at the Attorney General's office until the president decided to defend DOMA.
Illegally conducting war against Libya
Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.
The U.S. launched combat operations in Libya on March 19, 2011. For several weeks before the U.S. combat operation in Libya, CIA operatives had been deployed to the area to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and support Libyan rebels in the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. The New York Times reported in March 2011 that Obama had "signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels."
The U.S. military had been reportedly monitoring Libyan troops with U-2 spy planes, a high-altitude Global Hawk drone and a JSTARS aircraft to track troop movements.
Fox News' Mike Huckabee raised the issue of impeachment over Obama's order to bomb Libya, stating: "I think frankly, if this issue really gets traction that it deserves, and let it say it deserves, go back. Richard Nixon was forced out of office because he lied. And because he covered some stuff up. I will be blunt and tell you this. Nobody died in Watergate. We have people who are dead because of this. There are questions to be answered and Americans ought to demand to get answers."
As WND reported in March 2012, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introduced House Concurrent Resolution 107, which stated: "[I]t is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress's exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution."
Jones' bill had 12 co-sponsors, but it never made it past the House Committee on the Judiciary.
"In the case of Libya, the president had no congressional authority whatsoever," legal scholar Bruce Fein told WND in 2013. "The whole thing is insane. And the executive doesn't care because all the time that conflict ensues, that just means more executive power. That's exactly what the Founding Fathers feared.
"President Obama just totally flouted the whole thing and basically said through his various memos, ‘I don't need congressional authority to go to war.' That was clearly an impeachable offense. It's clearly gross usurpation of the war power. Both the Republicans and Democrats have acquiesced in that."
Constitutional expert Louis Fisher told WND he found Obama's actions in Libya "constitutionally offensive."
"I think it's completely unconstitutional," he said. "It's extremely offensive for a president to claim he can use military force against another country, like Libya, that didn't threaten us. I find that appalling.
"Of course, the Office of Legal Counsel sent out a memo. It claimed there's no war because there were no legal casualties. If that's your legal reasoning, you could absolutely pulverize another nation. If anyone did anything to us like what we did to Libya, we'd obviously call it war. That was a complete and total outrage."
Also in 2013, Herbert Titus, counsel to the law firm William J. Olson and former instructor of constitutional law, said the scandal is one of Obama's worst: "I think Libya is the strongest argument for impeachment. That's the one that stands out. It's unprecedented. It doesn't even fit within any of the precedents that have been set since Korea.
"If you're going to talk impeachment, you have to find something that Obama has done that is so distinctly different than what other presidents have done before him that people can resonate with it. The difficult, of course, is that people have forgotten about Libya."
NSA: Spying on Americans
In June 2013, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the U.S. government was collecting an enormous amount of data on millions of Americans with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had testified to Congress just the opposite, the year before. When Snowden's revelations became public, Clapper said he had misspoken, not lied.
Obama claimed laws and safeguards prevent the NSA from collecting information without a warrant, but WND has reported many sources, including a Democrat congressman, said that is not true.
While the administration claimed the data collected is limited to phone calls and email records, so-called metadata, and not the content of those transmissions, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said he was "startled" to learn in a secret congressional briefing how NSA analysts can decide for themselves whether to access the content of a domestic phone call.
The Washington Post, the Guardian and CNET all reported the NSA collected content of phone calls and emails without obtaining warrants.
Muslim Brotherhood ties
Andrew McCarthy reported extensively on the Muslim Brotherhood ties to Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's top adviser and trusted confidant when she was at the State Department.
Aside from extensive family ties to the Brotherhood, including strong support by her parents, "Ms. Abedin was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at George Washington University, heading its ‘Social Committee.' The MSA, which has a vast network of chapters at universities across North America, is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood's infrastructure in the United States."
"When a handful of House conservatives tried to draw the attention of the State Department's inspector general to some of these matters – wondering how on earth someone with Ms. Abdein's background could have qualified for a top-secret security clearance – they were castigated by the Obama White House and the Beltway Republican establishment."
In February 2015, Obama hosted Muslim leaders in the White House including a number with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
As a Customs and Border Protection officer, Philip Haney knew the Obama administration was growing close to leaders of several Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the U.S., WND reported.
In January 2010, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano met with several American Muslim leaders, including leaders of two Muslim Brotherhood front groups and another known Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. The meeting was even hosted by the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which allowed attendees to help develop the nation's counter-terrorism policy.
"My simple question to the Obama administration is, why would you form an overt political alliance with a group that has stated plainly that they intend to overthrow our form of government and alter or abolish it?" Haney asked. "Why would you do that?"
WND has reported in depth the stonewall by the Department of Justice, which refuses to release the report containing reasons it chose not prosecute federal officers in the shooting death of an unarmed suburban mother.
Miriam Carey, 34, did little more than apparently make a mistaken turn into a White House security post and immediately try to leave, but she was chased by Secret Service and Capitol Police officers, and shot dead in broad daylight, two blocks from the Capitol, on Oct. 3, 2013.
President Obama finally released a birth certificate image after years of questions, but no one was allowed to test its authenticity, other than NBC's Savannah Guthrie, who claimed she "felt the raised seal" on the actual document.
"It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates," Monckton said. "You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated."
At a news conference in December 2016, Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the only law enforcement officer to formally investigate the allegations of fraud, presented evidence that he said proves the image of the birth document posted by the White House was fraudulent.
Constitutional expert and self-described liberal professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University said Obama's penchant for using executive orders to circumvent the will of Congress caused a constitutional crisis.
"This is, I think, the most important ... moment ... in the last I don't even know how many years. This is the American crisis. … This is beyond the constitutional crisis. This is a constitutional tipping point," said Turley.
"And the most serious violations, in my view, are various cases when he went to Congress, as in the immigration field, as in the healthcare field, as for very specific things, and was rejected, and then decided just to order those on his own."
Obama issued orders on a wide range of major issues, from labor and climate to immigration and restrooms. Sometimes they were imposed, sometimes courts blocked him, sometimes Congress blocked him. He also addressed guns, the Iran nuclear deal, even federal pay and overtime compensation.
These actions all from a president who, according to Reason.com, moved into the White House on the statement of rolling back the executive power that President George W. Bush had exercised.
"The president is not above the law," he had insisted way back then.
While many who defended Obama's executive actions claimed the president has issued fewer orders than his predecessors, George Mason University's Mercatus Center released a 2014 study that showed Obama used far more restrictive executive orders than the previous six presidents – all in just his first term.
Solyndra and the lost $535 million
In 2009, solar panel manufacturer Solyndra received a $535 million loan guaranteed by the Department of Energy.
In 2010, Obama claimed Solyndra was "leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future."
Solyndra shut down in August 2011, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers on the hook for the $535 million.
ABC News reported, "The deal later came under scrutiny from independent government watch dogs and members of Congress, which said the administration had bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds – claims the administration has denied."
After the Obama administration backed the Arab Spring uprising that deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the radical jihadist organization the Muslim Brotherhood promised it would not participate in presidential elections.
When the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi won the Egyptian presidency, he was fully supported by the Obama administration.
When Morsi was deposed by Egyptian defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for human-rights violations, including the killing of protesters, the Obama administration demanded a return to "civilian" government.
Cap & Trade: When in doubt, bypass Congress
In April 2010, the U.S. Senate rejected the "cap-and-trade" bill, which created a carbon-tax system and amplified federal power over the energy industry.
Nonetheless, Obama's EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, declared carbon dioxide a pollutant. Before Congress had voted on the matter, on Dec. 7, 2009, Jackson signed an "endangerment finding" labeling CO2 and five other gases – methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6 ) – threats to human health.
That step provided the EPA with the authority to regulate the gases in the absence of congressional approval, and the federal agency rolled out new rules.
Refusal to prosecute New Black Panthers
After Obama took office, the Department of Justice dismissed voter intimidation charges against two leaders of the New Black Panther Party, or NBPP, related to the 2008 presidential election.
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees "due process" and "equal protection of the laws" while the 15th Amendment guarantees that "the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of race ..."
As WND reported in 2008, two NBPP members were filmed standing in front of the entrance to a Philadelphia polling station in black uniforms, with one member wielding a billy club.
According to complaints, both men standing in front of the polling station pointed at voters and shouted racial slurs, using such phrases as "white devil" and, "You're about to be ruled by the black man, Cracker!"
At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder's office was accused by Justice Department insiders of racial favoritism in dropping the charges against the NBPP.
In May 2010, J. Christian Adams resigned as a Justice voting department trial attorney, citing preferences related to trying civil rights cases only when minorities were the victims.
"I was told by voting section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on [behalf] of white victims," Adams said in testimony before the Civil Rights commission.
Adams was backed up by Christopher Coates, the former head of the voting section for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. Coates had led the original investigation of the New Black Panther Party.
Coates stated in testimony, "I had people who told me point-blank that [they] didn't come to the voting rights section to sue African-American people."
Obama's U.S. citizen ‘hit list'
In 2010, Obama ordered the assassination of a radical American-born Muslim cleric who became an avowed member of al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen. Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike in September 2011, along with naturalized U.S. citizen and al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan. Awlaki's 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a similar strike two weeks earlier.
While there is little argument that Awlaki was involved in terrorist activity, the Obama administration failed to provide due process to the U.S. citizens targeted for the use of deadly force. Awlaki had reportedly communicated by email with Maj. Nadal Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist who murdered 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. He had also been tied to the so-called "underwear bomber" who attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound plane with plastic explosives sewn into his undergarments on Dec. 25, 2009. The FBI suspected Awlaki had purchased airplane tickets for three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers before the terrorist attacks.
However, Awlaki was born in New Mexico, and his son was born in Denver, Colorado. There has been no reported evidence that Awlaki ever renounced his U.S. citizenship. In fact, Rep. Charles Dent, R-Penn., introduced a 2010 resolution in the U.S. House to strip Awlaki of his citizenship, but the legislation never made it out of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
Awlaki spent years in the U.S. as an imam and a Muslim chaplain at George Washington University before moving to Yemen. He had been in U.S. custody twice and released before he was killed by the drone strike. Awlaki was detained in 2002 at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for passport fraud. A Judicial Watch investigation revealed that he had been released by the FBI. He was also held for at least eight months in 2006 and 2007 and subsequently released.
In 2002, Awlaki reportedly led Muslim prayers on Capitol Hill.
He also reportedly dined at the Pentagon as part of the U.S. military's outreach to the Muslim community just months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights sued the U.S. government on behalf of Awlaki's father, challenging the federal government's authority to conduct "targeted killings" of U.S. citizens who are not in an armed conflict zone. A federal district court dismissed the case in 2011.
In January of 2013, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan ruled that the Obama administration was not required to provide legal justification for its targeting killings to the public.
So how did the Obama administration determine who's a terrorist for the purpose of compiling its hit list?
A confidential Justice Department "white paper," which is not an official legal memo, was released in 2013 to NBC News. It stated that the U.S. government can order targeted killing of American citizens if they are believed to be "senior operational leaders" of al-Qaida or "an associated force."
In response to the memo, a bipartisan letter from 11 top-ranking senators to President Obama stated, "It's vitally important for Congress and the American public to have a full understanding of how the executive interprets the limits and boundaries of this particular authority." The senators asked Obama for "any and all legal opinions" that clarify the basis of his perceived power to "deliberately kill American citizens."
Judge Andrew Napolitano warned, "This 16-page white paper was written so vaguely that the logic from it could actually be extrapolated to permit the president to kill Americans here in the United States."
Napolitano noted that Obama also violated another federal statute: "When the president ramps up the war on terror or decides to move into another area or use the CIA to engage people, whether to arrest them or to kill them, he's required to tell the Senate and House intelligence committees ahead of time and get their consent. He apparently didn't do that, and so [Congress is] burned by this."