A crazy accusation that might not be so crazy
President Trump set off a political firestorm over the weekend when he accused Barack Obama of literally spying on him during the presidential campaign.
“Terrible!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, March 4. “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism.”
If that sounds like a crazy accusation, political observers have noticed the non-denial from Democrats.
A spokesman for Obama responded that he never “ordered” surveillance, leaving room that he nonetheless knew about the monitoring and allowed it.
Sen. Chuck Schumer told “Meet the Press” that such accusations are “beneath the dignity of the presidency,” but he then suggested that Trump could be in legal trouble if the accusations are actually true.
Government monitoring of Trump and his campaign officials has allegedly been going on since last summer, attorney Andrew C. McCarthy explains in a National Review Online story published on Sunday, March 5. The Obama-led Justice Dept. was “poking around” looking for connections to Russian financial institutions, but they found no proof of such concerns.
“Rather than shut the case down, though,” McCarthy further writes, “the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).”
The DOJ reportedly submitted a request in June to the FISA Court that likely named Trump in the application, but that request was denied by the court, McCarthy explains. Weeks before Election Day, however, the DOJ returned in October with a “narrowly tailored” application that named three Trump associates, but not Trump, McCarthy writes. The court granted that application.
McCarthy goes on to criticize Obama’s weak denial of ordering the surveillance, since the court technically orders the surveillance and the Justice Dept., not the White House, seeks such orders.
The attorney also points out that the issue is not new – he linked to a Jan. 11 story in which he first pointed to allegations that the Obama-led DOJ sought FISA warrants against Trump’s associates.
Despite the credible allegations of a DOJ-led surveillance, FBI Director James Comey has asked the Justice Dept. to publicly rebuke President Trump’s allegations, The New York Times reported in a Sunday story.
Speaking on Fox News on Monday, Judge Andrew Nepolitano suggested that much of the analysis done in recent days is “mixing apples and oranges,” because the FBI seeks search warrants for criminal activity while the NSA seeks warrants to investigate national security matters.
Speaking about the NSA and its powers, the judicial analyst said the spy agency has the legal right to obtain “all digital information” within the United States. He added that the NSA works for the president, so President Trump has the legal right to ask the NSA for any information it obtained about him.
“If this happened, we’ve crossed a very dangerous line in America,” former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams told Fox News over the weekend. “It makes Watergate look like a joke.”
We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and