By Laurie Kotka
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump alleged that former President Obama wiretapped his phones.
Today, bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee stated they found no evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping claims.
“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”
-Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Senator Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman.
Yet even last night, during an interview with Tucker Carlson, Trump maintained it was “potentially a very serious situation” and that “some very interesting items” should be “coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.” At the same time, he attempted to back pedal the specific wiretapping claim, suggesting that wiretap means many things.
Trump also stated his information came from a January 20th (actually 19th) New York Times article and unspecified Bret Baier reporting. It is interesting Trump was willing to put his good name on the line based on reporting from a news source he has repeatedly called “failing” and “fake news.”
Armed with the New York Times article and “other things he read,” on March 4th, via Twitter, Trump accused Obama of tapping his phones prior to the election:
On March 6th, White House press secretary, Sean Spicer responded to questions about Trump’s allegations stating that there was, “no question something happened.” House Oversight Committee Chairman, Jason Chaffetz suggested that it was possible because such things happen and they are not always done, “the legal, lawful way.”
One week later, Spicer stated Trump didn’t mean wiretapping literally. (Please see above tweets.)
Today’s findings are the result of a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Trump’s claims. The Department of Justice is conducting an independent investigation examining the issue.
At this point, it is deeply troubling that Trump, as the leader of our nation, has been permitted to engage in slander and libel directed toward Obama. If he has evidence of illegal investigations ordered by Obama, he should be required to produce it. As the most litigious president in U.S. history, he should also understand the legal significance of his disgusting and unacceptable behavior. He is not above the law. Indeed the responsibility of the executive branch is to enforce laws, not show disregard for it.
Aside from lying about Obama, making statements without proof reduces Trump to nothing more than the false news he loathes.
Given no evidence of wiretapping was found, we are left with more questions. If the possibility of wiretapping was so concerning to Trump, why didn’t he bring it up in January when he read about it? But two months later? What does Trump stand to gain by making false claims at this time? Specifically, what is he trying to hide? And if this is not another of his red herrings, what mental demon is Trump fighting?
For the majority of the population that did not vote for Trump and for those of us in the majority disapproving of his job performance, we have his antics shoved in our faces every time we look at the news. His folly is inescapable.
To those of his supporters who have suggested everyone give him a chance to govern, I ask you, where is the governing? He does not know how. He has turned to the only behavior he knows – grandstanding and campaigning to garner ratings and attention. (Has he looked at his favorability ratings recently? If his presidency were a TV show, it would have been cancelled.)
Unfortunately, this current mess erodes the credibility of the office of the United States president.
His actions have compromised our safety. While Trump cries about judicial action on his revised executive order on immigration, he has left intelligence agents wasting time chasing down his false claims. While they should be about the work of protecting us, that work should not ever involve defending us from the inappropriate and illegal behavior of our own president.
At best, Trump’s statements are no better than junior high gossip. At worst, they jeopardize the confidence of our global allies and posit our president as the sole source of reality. Enough is enough.
At the time I write this, unless something changes, we have 1405 days, 7 hours, 18 minutes, and 9 seconds left of this madness. (https://howlonguntiltrumpleaves.com/)