Trump’s Wild Accusations Dig Him Deeper Into the Quicksand
Now he even has to guy who handed him the election criticizing him.
“The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement.”
“Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.”
But Trump’s diversionary reverse accusation isn’t diverting anything. It makes the need for real hearings to get to the bottom of this even more pressing.
“Donald Trump’s presidency has veered onto a road with no centerlines or guardrails.”
“The president’s accusation Saturday that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had tapped his phone “during the very sacred election process” escalated on Sunday into the White House’s call for a congressional investigation of that evidence-free claim.”
“The audacious tactic was a familiar one for Trump, who has little regard for norms and conventions. When he wants to change a subject, he often does it by touching a match to the dry tinder of a sketchy conspiracy theory.”
It’s actually out of the Nixon playbook. In 1972 he tried to divert on the question of Watergate by claiming that LBJ tapped his phone to catch him in the act of scuttling LBJ’s peace talks with Vietnam.
The more things change… Like with Trump, Nixon had know proof-he had actually tried to browbeat J. Edgar Hoover into giving him proof.
Nixon was like ‘It sure was wrong for LBJ to eavesdrop on me committing treason in order to win the Presidency’ and this is the same playbook Trump is using here. Trouble is, it only digs him in deeper.”
“His tweets may have been an effort to distract from revelations that his aides and associates had contact with Russian officials during the election and transition, as well as to deflect criticism onto Obama.
“But instead, the president has invited more scrutiny to the larger controversy over Russian interference. The issue shows no signs of fading.”
“So explosive was Trump’s unsubstantiated wiretap accusation that FBI Director James B. Comey asked the Justice Department to take the extraordinary step of issuing a statement rebutting it, a U.S. official said, confirming a report Sunday in the New York Times.”
Here’s the thing. Obama didn’t wiretap him but there are reports that the FBI got a FISA warrant to tap his communications. Trump’s wild tweets actually confirm that.
“There’s an argument that invoking the name of the FISA court is a risky strategy for Trump – because, if it had issued an eavesdropping order on Trump or his associates, it would mean that a federal judge had been convinced that there was “probable cause” for such an order, which is to say there was explicit evidence that a crime had been committed.”
“It’s extremely unlikely that there would have been any sort of criminal or intelligence surveillance of Trump,” Jennifer Daskal, a former senior Justice Department national security official, told The Washington Post.
“There’s no credible evidence yet to suggest that that happened. It would be an extraordinary measure for the FBI to ask for and the court to grant a surveillance order on a presidential candidate of the opposing party in an election year.”
“Republicans were as affronted as Democrats by the Trump tweets. Republican senator and vocal Trump critic Lindsey Graham seemed happy to implicitly push Democratic Party demands for an independent investigation, arguing that “[we have to] get to the bottom of this … biggest scandal since Watergate”.
As to the FISA court warrant Louise Mensch-who has a very impressive track record on Russiagate, reported the day before the election that the FBI had gotten this warrant.’
She has been a step ahead all along:
“Louise Mensch: the former British MP who scooped US media on Trump’s Russian ties.”
The NY Times certainly did not acquit itself well on the Russia story. To her credit NYT public editor Liz Spayd at least has now agreed that the Times did drop the ball on Russia prior to the election. Too busy on the emails.
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