WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former president Barack Obama may be looking at some serious jail time, according to famed Watergate whistle blower Bob Woodward.
Woodward, now a columnist for The Washington Post, says the 44th president may be slapped with criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members during surveillance of foreign officials.
Woodward’s comments come on the heels of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., revelations on Wednesday that he had briefed president Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that Trump and several members of his transition team had their identities “unmasked” after being surveilled by U.S. intelligence officials.
Earlier this month, president Trump had announced in a tweet that he had reason to believe that his home and business had been wiretapped for a period of time surrounding the election on the orders of Barack Obama, a claim that the former president vehemently denied.
During an interview on Fox News, Woodward said that if that allegations regarding the unmasking is true, “it is a gross violation.”
Jail time for the former president could come not so much from the surveillance itself, said Woodward, but from the fallout that comes from the unmasking.
“You can learn all kinds of things from diplomats gossiping, because that’s what occurs. Under the rules, and they are pretty strict, it’s called minimization. You don’t name the American person who is being discussed,” Woodward said.
“The idea that there was intelligence value here is really thin,” Woodward continued. “It’s, again, down the middle, it is not what Trump said, but this could be criminal on the part of people who decided, oh, let’s name these people. Under the rules, that name is supposed to be blanked out,” he added. “And so you’ve got a real serious problem potentially of people in the Obama administration passing around this highly classified gossip.”