Accuracy in Media

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden again denied that he was directly involved in “Obamagate,” although evidence allegedly contradicts his claims.

President Donald Trump’s “Obamagate” controversy alleged that the Obama administration framed the then-incoming Trump administration to derail his presidency through illegal spying methods. Specifically, multiple Obama administration officials asked the government to “unmask” Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn and allegedly spied on him.

MSNBC interviewed Biden during a town hall with potential Biden vice presidential pick Stacey Abrams and dedicated one question to the “Obamagate” controversy. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell asked Biden, “What was your involvement in the investigation of Michael Flynn and the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn?”

“I was never a part or had any knowledge of any criminal investigation into Flynn while I was in office. Period,” Biden said, “Not one single time.” O’Donnell did not ask a follow-up question, which was problematic because Biden’s name was in recently-released government documents related to the unmasking. The documents named Biden’s office, which had requested surveillance officials to identify Flynn during his conversations with the Russian ambassador. According to the unmasking documents, Biden was at least peripherally involved in matters related to Flynn and the resulting FBI investigation.

The government’s surveillance of Flynn allegedly led to the FBI investigating Flynn over concerns that he broke U.S. laws by coordinating political activities with Russian government officials.

O’Donnell should have asked a follow-up question on why Biden’s name appeared in the unmasking requests and should have challenged Biden’s answer.

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