In an interview Tuesday, Bartimoro asked Valerie Jarrett whether Obama “directed” the probe into Trump campaign ties to Russia, which eventually sparked the Mueller investigation.
“That’s not how it works,” Jarrett, former Obama senior adviser, said in distancing Obama from the Russia investigation and the dossier authored by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. “That’s not how our investigations work. We leave that to the intelligence community to bring forward information. And the dossier – I would imagine would be one piece of a much bigger puzzle.”
The report by Robert Mueller was unable to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the investigation found the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion,” including hacking the Democratic National Committee, releasing Hillary Clinton-related emails and launching a social media campaign that “favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate Clinton.”
Trump and Republicans have accused the Obama administration of “spying” on the president and trying to undermine his presidency during the transition period. The FBI relied on the unverified Steele dossier to get secret wiretaps from the foreign surveillance court to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Jarrett said she has confidence in the conduct of the intelligence community.
“I have a very high degree of confidence that our intelligence community, our investigators, comported themselves responsibly,” Jarrett said.
Jarrett argued the focus should be on preventing foreign interference in the current 2020 presidential election rather than digging up the past.
She also denied being part of any effort to unmask the identity of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“No, I was not involved in any of those conversations,” Jarrett said. “But the question I really want to put to you is: What are we doing today? If people want to have an investigation about what happened four years ago they should do that. But … aren’t you worried about the integrity of our upcoming elections?”