George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley slammed the media for widely dismissing the recent revelations of the unmasking requests of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
In a column published on Sunday, Turley pointed out the “unsettling” details surrounding the declassified list of top Obama officials, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who had requested Flynn’s name to be revealed from his conversations with the Russian ambassador in the final weeks of the Obama administration, which followed the “chilling details” of released transcripts showing that the most prominent figures who pushed the Russian collusion narrative admitted to investigators that they never saw evidence that the Trump campaign worked with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
“There is very little question that the response by the media to such a story would have been overwhelming if George Bush and his administration had targeted the Obama campaign figures with secret surveillance,” Turley wrote. “That story would have been encompassing if it was learned that there was no direct evidence to justify the investigation and that the underlying allegation of Russian collusion was ultimately found to lack a credible basis… But the motives of Obama administration officials are apparently not to be questioned.”
Turley, the constitutional scholar who is widely known for his congressional testimony opposing President Trump’s impeachment during the Ukraine scandal, pointed out how the media “universally mocked” Trump in 2016 for claiming that the Obama administration placed campaign officials under surveillance, saying “that statement was later proven to be true,” referencing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants that were issued against Trump campaign officials like former advisor Carter Page.
“Yet none of this matters as the media remains fully invested in the original false allegations of collusion. If Obama administration officials were to be questioned now, the coverage and judgment of the media may be placed into question, as even this latest disclosure from the investigation of the unmasking request of Biden will not alter the media narrative,” Turley continued.
He then explained the significance of unmasking American citizens from surveillance of foreigners but noted that the “importance of this privacy protection is being dismissed by media figures,” citing MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell who suggested that anyone sounding the alarm on the Flynn revelations is “gaslighting.”
“The media portrayed both Obama and Biden as uninvolved. But now we know they both actively followed the investigation,” Turley wrote. “Yet none of this matters. A Democratic administration using a secret court to investigate the opposing political campaign does not matter to many in Congress or in the media anyway. An investigation continuing despite the lack of credible information supporting collusion does not matter to them either. A president and a vice president who take personal interest in the surveillance of their political opponents also does not matter.”
He argued, “There was a time, however, when all of this did matter. There was once a time when this would be viewed as the story of the century, including the unmasking of Biden himself in this investigation. But these are not those times, and this cannot be the story. Russian collusion is the story and, as Biden stressed, the rest is just a diversion. It is up to the public to decide who has been ultimately unmasked by the Flynn investigation.”