Donald Trump has accused Obama of ordering a wiretap on Trump Tower during last year’s election.
No evidence so far. Is it a leak from an anonymous ‘source’? Trump has slammed leaks and anonymous sources.
On Friday, Fox’s Brett Baier asked House Speaker Paul Ryan whether he was concerned “that the Obama Administration may have been surveilling members of the Trump campaign in a pretty detailed investigation during the election?”
Ryan responded by saying: “I don’t think that’s the case.”
Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to Obama, said in a tweet that presidents can’t simply order wiretaps as Trump suggests.
So, is this a conspiracy theory? An attempted diversion? Both?
I think that would be illegal.
No Obama administration official interfered in Justice Department investigations or ordered surveillance on any American, much less President Trump, a spokesman for former President Obama said Saturday.
“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,” Kevin Lewis said in a statement.
“As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen,” he added. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
I’d be looking for what Trump may be trying to blow a smokescreen over.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump had any proof or was referencing a report. Breitbart News on Friday reported on conservative radio host Mark Levin’s claim that Obama executed a “silent coup” of Trump via “police state” tactics. White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart before joining Trump’s team.
A common Breitbart tactic is to accuse others to divert from attacks – and the more outlandish the accusation the better as it attracts more attention.
And it appears that Trump’s accusation is based on a Breitbart story.
Trump is likely referring to calls from talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh to investigate the nature of the Obama administration’s investigations of his campaign aides for their communications with Russia, as Breitbart News editor Joel Pollak reported.
Breitbart also have a record of getting false stories circulating amongst their (and Trump’s) base. And the Pollak story seems to be accusing Obama as a diversion from what Trump’s campaign is accused of doing.
In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.
Levin called the effort a “silent coup” by the Obama administration and demanded that it be investigated.
In addition, Levin castigated Republicans in Congress for focusing their attention on Trump and Attorney General Sessions rather than Obama.
Perhaps Levin should be investigated.
Some actual background in this Twitter thread: