The Obama wiretap Trump Twitter rant of last night would seem to bring to an end the very brief “presidential Donald Trump” period we were supposedly enjoying after the speech he just gave to a joint session of Congress. But as reported by NBC, accusing his predecessor of putting a wiretap on his phone in the Trump Tower without any proof whatsoever – aside from the baseless speculations of a conservative radio jockey – hardly seems presidential.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Nonexistent Obama Wiretap
Trump rather pointedly – when he accuses President Obama of ordering a wiretap of Trump Tower – overlooks the fact that Obama seemingly went out of his way to ignore the scandal regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election process. Despite the fact that many Democrats were screaming for vigorous action from the White House, Obama, in fact, did very little to address the issue.
President Obama apparently largely left the investigation of these accusations to the intelligence community and the FBI. What this means is that if a wiretap were ordered for Trump Tower – and there’s no evidence that there was – the Obama wiretap Trump is talking about would have actually been carried out by the FBI itself as a part of its own investigations, not at the behest of the Obama White House itself. Again, though, Trump has provided no evidence whatsoever of this wiretap.
As noted by CNN, former National Security Council official Ben Rhodes – who served on the council during the Obama administration – denounced the Obama wiretap Trump Tweet, insisting that a president of the United States has no authority to directly order a wiretap on anyone. Speaking for Obama himself, spokesman Kevin Lewis said the following.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false… a cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.”
More than this, for the Obama wiretap Trump accusation to be true, one would have to believe that President Obama ordered a legal wiretap, gathered incriminating evidence about Trump and for some reason chose not to use it – instead waiting for such information to leak out after the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Ranting about the Obama Wiretap
Trump tweets are notorious for their outrageousness, especially when issued at 3 a.m. While Republicans may have hoped that Trump had actually pivoted – and they certainly tried to convince the media that he had –following his recent address to senators and representatives on Capitol Hill, the series of tweets Trump issued last night destroyed this illusion.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
It’s become fairly clear over the last year or so that Donald Trump has made a habit of trying to create controversial distractions whenever he was in trouble. Given the fact that his national security head Michael Flynn recently had to resign and his Attorney General is having to recuse himself from the investigation into Trump administration ties to Russia, it’s hardly surprising Trump would use this moment to generate a bit of fake news of his own. But in this instance, Trump may have made a major misstep in his attempts at redirecting the attention of the news media.
Because if someone in the Justice Department or the FBI did legally place a wiretap on Donald Trump’s phone in Trump Tower – even if it was without the approval of Barack Obama – Trump could be opening a sizable can of worms by focusing the attention of the press on what these officials may have learned. The imaginary Obama wiretap Trump is frantically tweeting about could easily bring up the topic of a real one.
[Featured Image by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images]