Report: Trump team hired private investigators to target Obama officials over Iran deal

A British newspaper is reporting, based on documents it obtained, that President Trump’s team tried to undermine the Iran nuclear deal by seeking out dirt on two Obama administration officials involved in negotiating it. 

According to The Observer, “People in the Trump camp contacted [Israeli] private investigators in May last year to ‘get dirt’ on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.” 

Although “it is not clear how much work was actually undertaken, for how long or what became of any material unearthed,” Rhodes responded to the report about the alleged scheme by saying, “I was not aware, though sadly am not surprised. I would say that digging up dirt on someone for carrying out their professional responsibilities in their positions as White House officials is a chillingly authoritarian thing to do.” 

RELATED: President Trump addresses the Iran nuclear deal

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President Trump addresses the Iran nuclear deal
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Iran and the Iran nuclear deal in front of a portrait of President George Washington in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Men watch a television broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump's speech, in Tehran, Iran October 13, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Iran and the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A woman displays pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump as she follows the news on her mobile phone in Tehran, Iran October 13, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump walks from the Diplomatic Reception Room after speaking about the Iran nuclear deal at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about Iran and the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A man displays a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump on his phone in Tehran, Iran October 13, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
A man watches a television broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump's speech, in Tehran, Iran October 13, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
A man watches a television broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump's speech, in Tehran, Iran October 13, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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President Trump has until May 12 to decide whether or not to uphold the Iran deal. 

While the leaders of European countries including France, Germany, and the U.K. have been lobbying Trump to renew the pact, there have been indications that the U.S. may be prepared to vacate it. 

“We’ll see what happens. I’m not telling you what I’m doing, but a lot of people think they know. And on or before the 12th, we’ll make a decision,” Trump told reporters on April 30. “You know, this is an agreement that wasn’t approved by too many people. And it’s a horrible agreement for the United States.”

Meanwhile, according to CNN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently warned that the US exiting the deal would be, in his words, a “historic mistake.” 

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