Scandal: President Trump’s tweet-storm over the weekend has once again stirred a very big pot, essentially charging that former President Obama oversaw a wiretapping operation against Trump and his campaign aides before he took office.
It is a serious charge made on a frivolous venue, but based on what we know of Obama’s past presidential behavior, it deserves to be fully investigated.
Let us admit right up front: An angry tweet is not the same as a detailed charge or legal challenge. On that basis, many in the Democratic Party have ridiculed Trump’s allegations, as if they were beneath consideration.
But they aren’t.
In fact, the charges we’ve heard at least pass the smell test when it comes to Obama. The media and Democrats have been beside themselves with anger, noting that Trump’s tweet contained no substantiation of his charges or evidence. True enough. Hard to get that into 140 words.
What’s bothersome, however, is that the Democrats since last summer have been pushing a narrative that the Trump campaign had dangerous and perhaps illegal contacts with Russian officials, and that Russian officials meddled in our election and influenced it.
The fact is, there is no evidence of any kind that the Trump campaign coordinated, strategized or in any way politically colluded with Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. Or that Russians, who evidence shows did meddle in the campaign, had any decisive impact at all.
Yet, despite the lack of evidence, the false Russian allegations have remained a mainstay of mainstream media coverage of Trump for over six months, and hardly a day goes by that Democratic Party leaders don’t mention it.
The hypocrisy is stunning. The Democrats and their allies in the mostly leftwing Big Media have made a serious charge against Trump and his campaign that it can’t back up, but continues to investigate.
Meanwhile, we know for a fact that President Obama repeatedly went on intelligence fishing expeditions of questionable legality, while encouraging a lawless, anything-goes environment among his own Cabinet.
He swept up the telephone records of dozens of AP reporters, spied on Fox reporter James Rosen, allowed his IRS to go after conservative groups, openly and repeatedly lied about knowing about Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of an unsecured home-brew email server while secretary of state, tolerated outright perjury by administration officials over the Benghazi fiasco, and did nothing about lies made under oath by Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch about, respectively, the disastrous Fast and Furious program and Lynch’s questionable private conversations with former President Clinton while Hillary Clinton was under investigation.
And this is only a partial list.
Simply put, Obama’s time in office was marked by repeated violations of the law, but he suffered no consequences. The gutless media for the most part politely looked away, even though its members were some of the victims.
Now here’s Trump’s Saturday morning tweet that started the brouhaha: “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!”
So Trump makes a charge based on previous media reports, and now the media imply he’s a madman, unhinged, a loose cannon, a danger.
Let’s start with what’s been reported.
The Justice Department last summer began looking into charges of collusive ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians. The FBI began looking into it, too.
Also last summer, at least one request was made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to wiretap Trump aides’ phones, and possibly Trump himself, but was rejected by the court. No, this didn’t come from Trump, but from reports last year in Slate, Mother Jones and the web site Heat Street. And those reports were largely ignored.
What’s important is that request was rejected. The FISA court almost always grants the government’s request in such cases, especially if a case can be made that there’s a threat from a hostile foreign government involved. From FISA’s start in 1979 to 2013, the special court set up under FISA received 35,529 requests for electronic surveillance, and rejected only 12. That’s how rare it is.
Then, citing “two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community,” former British Member of Parliament Louise Mensch reported just one day before the Nov. 8 election at Heat Street that the FBI “sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
FBI Director James Comey immediately called on the Justice Department to disavow Trump’s claims. But that raises a logical question: How could he know the claims were wrong?
Meanwhile, Obama’s handlers and media defenders have all said he had nothing to do with it.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Obama, in a typical defense.
Sounds definitive, except, as Andrew C. McCarthy points out, presidents don’t “order” anything. The Justice Department makes a request for surveillance under FISA. In this case, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department could have sought a broad approval to surveil Trump and Obama could have deniability.
What’s most irksome is that the mainstream media have thrown a complete blanket over a very plausible account because it tarnishes their hero, former President Barack Obama.
In an example of high-level media Gaslighting, they’ve even started to suggest Trump and his followers are insane, while totally rejecting stories that were largely reported by left-wing media.
Whenever there’s even a whiff of scandal for a Republican, it automatically earns the honorary suffix of “-Gate,” as in Watergate. It’s immediately followed by a call for an “immediate investigation.”
Fair is fair. It’s time for an investigation into former President Obama’s activities of the last year with regards to the Trump campaign.
What did Obama know, and when did he know it? Was there an order to wiretap Trump’s phones, and if so, with whom did it originate? And was this an attempt to use the nation’s intelligence apparatus to conduct domestic politics, a crime?
America deserves answers. America deserves the truth. Investigate Obamagate.