WIRETAPPING ALLEGATIONS: PRESIDENT OBAMA, BY HIS ATTITUDE, HAS SHOWN THAT `SILENCE IS GOLDEN` (1-2)
That did not happen (Rep. Devin Nunes, the Chairman of House Intelligence Committee)
It's a claim that the FBI, NSA and House intelligence committee chair, Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican, have said is false (CBS News)
I think that he should retract his comment. He should retract unless he has evidence that would show Obama was behind that and obviously there has not been that evidence (Senator John McCain of Arizona)
Yes, he should retract. And if I were in his shoes -- I would apologize if I were in his shoes, absolutely (Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania)
When you have the highest official in the land, the president of the United States, accusing his predecessor of illegal activity with no evidence, that hurts our democracy (Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina)
e all know how President Trump tweeted, without providing any evidence, that his predecessor wiretapped him during the campaign.
To refresh, here are Trump's tweets on March 4:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
It's unfortunate that President Trump clings tenaciously to his unsubstantiated wiretapping allegations against his predecessor, despite all the calls that he should retract them, as they are baseless. For Trump, it's just me-against-the world, and he feels he's the only person saying the truth, while all those who know better than him, as far as intelligence is concerned, are wrong. The FBI, NSA and the congressional Intelligence Committees have repeated it, time without number, that President Obama never ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in anyway.
The FBI Director, J. Comey, told the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday, March 20, that President Obama didn't wiretap Donald Trump, as there's no evidence or information to support the claim first raised by the president last month in a tweet. Comey said "I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI"! The FBI Director also told the panel that the bureau is probing potential ties between Trump's associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Writing after the FBI Director's appearance before the House Intel Committee, the MSN noted that he, the FBI Director James Comey, had given Donald Trump nearly three weeks to walk back his incendiary tweets accusing President Obama of "wire tapping" Trump Tower during the campaign. If such surveillance had been done through legal channels, the FBI would have known; if done illegally, it was a scandal of historic proportions and the FBI should be digging into it. Either way, Trump's accusation implicated the integrity of Comey's bureau, which is why the former prosecutor felt compelled to push back as the cameras rolled. "I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey said. "We have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same." The statement was concise, direct and damning. The President of the United States had been marked as a fabulist by one of the top officials in government charged with finding the truth. And yet, for the man being called out, the rebuke was nothing of the sort.
Even before the FBI Director appeared before the House Intel Committee, many people have called on Trump to withdraw the allegations, and Bloomberg wrote that a growing roster of Republicans are calling on President Donald Trump to retract his claim that he was wiretapped during last year's election after FBI Director James Comey said there was no evidence to support that accusation. The list includes Senator John McCain of Arizona and moderate Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Republicans who both said the president needs to walk back his statement that former President Barack Obama was spying on Trump Tower during the White House campaign last year. New York Representative Peter King and Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also made similar statements (see some of their statements, in quote, above).
What Trump is doing here is dangerous, as it can cause a lot of damages in future. Chief Osita Osadebe, the late singer, in one of his songs, told a story about a king who was fond of shouting that a Tiger is attacking him, only for his subjects to rush out to help him without seeing any Tiger. The king did that so many times, and each time his subjects will rush out, only to see no Tiger. Then, one day, the real Tiger appeared, and the king shouted as usual, but his subjects thought it was like before, when the king will shout for nothing, so, they, his subjects, decided to ignore the king's shout, and the Tiger devoured the king. What I'm saying here is that President Trump is fond of making false allegations, but a day might come, when the security of the United States will be on the line, and Trump will tweet about it, and nobody will believe him. That was a point a New York Republican lawmaker, Representative Peter King, made, during an appearance, on Tuesday March 21, on WWOR radio in New York, when he said: "The president has to find a way, I think, to walk it back". King, according to Bloomberg, said the first casualty could be Trump's credibility in the event of a real crisis involving North Korea, China, Russia or a terrorist group. In his words: "Where the president gets some real intelligence saying a real attack could be occurring and people may think it's the same as his tweet about Obama."
There are other false allegations this administration has leveled against Obama: President Trump and his surrogates think that Obama is the cause of all the problems his controversial presidency is facing. They're not happy that Obama took up residence in Washington, instead of Chicago, where he's building his presidential library and foundation respectively. Trump and co. falsely believe that there's connivance between Obama, the intelligence community, the military and the press to frustrate Trump as a president. The fact that Trump thinks that Obama is messing things up for him was confirmed by Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Trump, who told the Journal that Trump believes "Obama is at war with him," That's partly because of the administration's belief that myriad government leaks are coming from current and former government workers loyal to Obama.
Gabby Kaufman of Yahoo News reported how Representative Steve King, R-Iowa, told the New York Times, on Tuesday, March 7, that he believes in the existence of a "deep state" attempting to undermine President Trump's administration. Hear him: "We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama, and that is something that we should prevent. The person who understands this best is Steve Bannon, and I would think that he's advocating to make some moves to fix it."
The term "deep state", which is relatively new to American politics, has been used to describe a permanent military, intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracy manipulating government policies in secret. King added that Trump "needs to purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining his administration and his chances of success." King's remarks echoed a previous statement made on his Twitter account, where he wrote that the president "needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist [sic] acts sink us."
King said the Obama family's decision to continue to live in Washington, D.C., is an indication that the former president is leading efforts to disrupt the current administration. In reality, the Obamas have said that they will stay in Washington until their younger daughter, Sasha, graduates from high school. From Steve King's comments, one needs not to wonder why Trump sacked the 46 Attorneys on March 10. Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, said, according to CNN, that he is "more worried about KGB agents running around the West Wing" than he is about the possibility of a "Deep State."
This type of open friction between the president and his immediate predecessor breaks from tradition. The NBC wrote that Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, told the Journal that although it's not entirely without precedent - previous presidents have experienced icy relationships with the men they've succeeded, but a commander in chief accusing his predecessor of a felony is new territory. Brinkley said: "There are these kinds of things that have happened in the past, but nothing to the degree where a sitting president would charge his predecessor with a felony. It creates a feeling of instability in the United States."