Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Monday he believes that President Donald Trump, after being outraged by a news story claiming wiretapping activities at Trump Tower, "just for a moment forgot that he was president."
"Why didn't he simply use the powers of the presidency to ask the acting director of National Intelligence, the head of the FBI to confirm or deny the story he apparently read from Breitbart, the evening before?" Hayden asked during a Fox News "Fox & Friends" interview.
Both FBI Director James Comey and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have flatly denied Trump's tweeted accusations that President Barack Obama ordered them to wiretap Trump Tower. Comey on Sunday asked the Justice Department to publicly refute Trump's claims according to The New York Times.
Trump, in an early morning tweetstorm, accused Obama of ordering the wiretaps as part of a probe over whether his campaign had been in communication with the Russian government.
"Neither of them would have done specifically what the president said, which was the president of the United States ordered surveillance on Trump Tower," said Hayden. Further, Obama would not have been involved because of the separation of powers, he said.
"After the mid-1970s the authority was taken away from the president," said Hayden. "The only way you get there, if you get there at all, is [through] a judge. He has to have probable cause."
The FBI, CIA, or the National Security Agency would be the ones to take the information to a judge to determine of there was cause to issue a warrant under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, and it would be "really unprecedented" for Trump to see the FISA report.
However, he admitted, "we're off the map here," said Hayden. "We are in unprecedented territory as well. So perhaps at some point in order to set the record straight we may do something unusual."
FISA reports, Hayden continued, are under a "very narrow chain of custody," with only "three or four folks who are allowed to see it or even be aware."
Hayden, also appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, commented that the Trump White House has been in "continuous crisis" for 45 days since his inauguration, and "none of it has been externally stimulated."
"I can only imagine what will happen when events start to happen and this is a mural game within our own government," he said. "I can only imagine what would will happen when events start to happen that require that sober methodical response from a government that doesn't appear as if it's got got itself organized yet."
Further, said Hayden, nobody really knows if there were connections between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.
"Anyone who says they know, probably doesn't have all of the facts," said Hayden, and he believes it's time to "calm down."
"Let's let the facts take us where they will," he told the program. "Let's all step back a little bit from this and, unfortunately, what happened on the weekend didn't dampen the fires. It threw gasoline on the fire.
"The continuation of the investigations just got a lot more energy. They are going to go on for a long time."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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