When I woke up Sunday, I thought the morning news shows would all be talking about the unusual, perhaps dangerous, decision of the Obama administration to wiretap the offices of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
I’ve been watching Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” as I write this. There is actually little talk about this unprecedented wire-tapping and even less worry over it.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, usually thoughtful, just told Chuck Todd he found it is “shocking” that Trump disclosed the wiretapping claim on Twitter.
But Friedman offered no shock that such a wiretap might have taken place!
I spoke with the President twice yesterday about the wiretap story. I haven’t seen him this pissed off in a long time. When I mentioned Obama “denials” about the wiretaps, he shot back: “This will be investigated, it will all come out. I will be proven right.”
The big news Saturday after Trump’s disclosure was the fact that neither Obama nor any Obama administration officials actually denied that Trump’s offices were ever wire tapped.
Instead the press focused on the rather narrow denial that Obama himself never ordered such a wiretap. [Wouldn’t it strain belief that a major presidential candidate’s offices were wiretapped and the president was never informed?]
Today on the "Meet the Press" James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, denied any agency that operated under him, including the FBI, ever wiretapped the Trump offices. “To my knowledge,” he added. [Wasn’t Clapper the same man who testified under oath that the NSA never collected phone data on millions of Americans — a fact proven untrue by the Snowden revelations?]
But the most important Clapper revelation from “Meet the Press” was this: He emphatically told Todd the Obama intelligence agencies found “no evidence” of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians. Nothing. Nada.
If that is true, and Trump is right he was indeed wiretapped, it will only fuel his argument that Obama administration officials improperly eavesdropped on his offices.
Trump will be justified when he claimed in tweets yesterday that this was Nixon-style “Watergate” activities.
There are number of couple things to remember here as this story unfolds:
- No one is denying that the Russians outrageously interfered in the U.S. election. Trump says it’s true too. But remember this “act of war” happened under Obama not Trump. Obama did nothing against Putin and the Russians despite having full knowledge of Russian’s active measures at the time they were happening. This wasn’t Trump’s fault. Another sign of the Obama administration’s weakness.
- The Russian interference, which again I take very seriously, did not change the election result. In fact, an argument could be made it hurt Trump and helped Hillary. Hillary outperformed Obama’s 2012 results in many, many states. For example, she cut Obama’s loss in Texas by half! Hillary’s problem was her campaign did little in the five states that mattered. As Woody Allen once described the secret of success, Trump just “showed up” in those states — and won.
- Despite Clapper and others saying there is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, the media is continually trying to create such a narrative. For example, stories are proliferating of the Russian ambassador’s contacts with the Trump campaign. But the truth is that campaigns deal all the time with foreign diplomats. There is nothing unusual or illegal here. And considering Trump’s very open declaration he wanted to reset U.S.-Russian relations, these contacts should not be surprising.
- Lastly, Chuck Schumer and other Democrats calling for a special prosecutor are way, way over the top. The Constitution provides for a “special prosecutor” — it’s called Congress. The Senate Intelligence Committee and other Congressional committees will review these matters soon. If they find serious evidence of wrong doing by the Trump campaign, then they can seek a special prosecutor.
Clearly, the Democrats aren’t interested in a fair process. They are on a mission: torpedo Trump early.
This week, President Trump gave a bold and inclusive speech to Congress. It won wide praise. The Democrats don’t want Trump to succeed. Hence, all the smokescreens.
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