This morning, apropos to nothing, President Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets accusing former President Obama of ordering the wire tapping of Trump Tower during the election.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
– Donald Trump, March 4, 2017, 3:35 a.m.
Is it legal for a sitting president to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
– Donald Trump, March 4, 2017, 3:49 a.m.
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to the election.
– Donald Trump, March 4, 2017, 3:52 a.m.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
– Donald Trump, March 4, 2017, 4:02 a.m.
Now, it actually isn’t news that the foreign intelligence surveillance court (FISA) granted a warrant (which could have included a directive to tap a phone line in Trump tower) to the FBI back in October. That information was reported by Louise Mensch back in early November. Trump, though, seems to have found out about it from a Breitbart article, which was inspired by a Mark Levin segment. Levin alleges that the Obama White House, presumably at Obama’s direction and operating on the basis of flimsy or non-existent evidence, managed to obtain a warrant to tap a Trump computer server, found nothing, but continued monitoring it anyways. After Trump won the election, they shared what evidence they did have throughout the government, which in turn led to the steady stream of leaks coming out of the Trump administration.
That’s a pretty damning story. It would mean that the President of the United States was using a federal agency supposedly independent of him to try and uncover dirt on a political opponent. It’s an explosive, scandalous allegation worthy of a full and thorough investigation. It would destroy President Obama’s legacy forever, and would likely go a long way towards vindicating Trump.
To be clear, though, the President didn’t present any evidence of this version of events; he didn’t even link to his source, though the Breitbart article doesn’t present any evidence of it, either. The article merely reported on facts that were already known and speculated about their significance. If the President were curious about the facts underlying the article, he could probably, in his capacity as President, get them. The evidence could be shared, if not with the public, then at least with Congress, who could then conduct an investigation and present their findings to the public.
He may do all of those things, but something tells me this is the end of it, at least on Trump’s end. He read the story, and so in his mind, it’s likely he has all the information he needs. Which, if true, is a shame, though of course its nothing new. We have known for a long time what kind of man he is. Nobody could credibly think Trump wasn’t the sort of man who would smear a predecessor on the basis of speculation.
Then there’s the issue of vindication. Imagine if what the Breitbart article and Levin alleged were true. Would that not vindicate Trump? An warrant was granted on flimsy evidence, the resulting information gathering found nothing, and the investigation continued anyways. Then, when Trump won, smears and damaging information were disseminated throughout the government with the hopes that they would leak to the public. Wouldn’t verifying that information prove Trump right and turn him into a victim?
This is a pattern with this whole Russia business. The seemingly obvious play, if Trump and his associates are telling the truth, is to disclose the information they do have. They could preemptively make the evidence people are searching for public, and exonerate themselves of any wrongdoing. Michael Flynn could have been open about his phone calls with Sergei Kislyak. He wasn’t. He lied even to his own colleagues. Jeff Sessions could have been forthcoming about his contacts with Kislyak. Instead, he lied. At every step along the way, they have chosen to lie or obstruct instead of being up front with the public, and at every step of the way, they have paid for it. So why not be up front? Why not present the evidence and let the public see that he was being straight with them all along? Trump acts as if his only recourse is an early morning rant on Twitter, but he’s the President of the United States! He has more information available to him than nearly anyone and could use it to his advantage if he saw fit. So, Mr. President, please. Show us the goods.