Remember President Trump’s claim that his was the best-attended inaugural ever? That was despite photographic evidence. Ah, no one cares. Remember his claim that his was the largest Electoral College victory since Reagan? He dropped that one when called out by a reporter (“Someone gave me that information…”). Nah, so what? Remember his claim that three to five million fraudulent votes were cast in the election? We’re still waiting for that “major investigation” to be headed by Vice President Pence. Ah, we knew he didn’t mean it literally, right?
Trump has been able to simple saunter along his way past the above untruths. But it is becoming increasing clear that accusing his predecessor of having Trump Tower “wiretapped” will be much harder to just forget about.
WASHINGTON – Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) made the following joint statement regarding evidence that Trump Tower was wiretapped during the 2016 election:
Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”
The accusations, in a series of tweets nearly two weeks ago, are hanging over the White House like a night binging on Jägermeister. They are not something that will go away easily. Congress cares, the intelligence community cares and people care. Which people? The ones who voted for Obama twice and then voted for Trump. In other words, the very people who pushed Trump across the White House finish line.
No less than leaders in both parties in both chamber of Congress have been briefed by intelligence officials and have categorically said there was not “surveillance” of Trump Towers by any agent of the United States. Period. Full Stop.
That means Trump or Sean Spicer cannot continue to dance around what “wire tapped” means. There was no surveillance, no wiretapping of phones, no microwaves with secret cameras. None.
In the alt-universe of Trump, it seems increasingly clear that Trump saw a report from Breitbart—that bastion of journalistic excellence—that quoted right-wing conspiracy-loving radio host Mark Levin. Levin and Sean Hannity (who Spicer quoted Thursday. No, for real) have less than zero credibility. Hannity jumped the shark when Megyn Kelly booted him out of his FOX News 9 p.m. time slot. He’s lost all credibility. Levin never had any. He is a screeching, screaming nut whose makes us wish we could substitute nails on a chalkboard for his voice.
Now, Spicer, who is writing Melissa McCarthy’s SNL character for her, is claiming the president was referring in part to stories like the one in the New York Times in January. Then problem is that those were stories about surveillance of Russians and their attempt to sway the American election.
The truth is, Trump better hope that neither he nor top campaign officials ended up on surveillance. It means the president or his top people were in touch with the Russians who were being listened to.
In the bigger picture, we simply can’t believe what the president of the United States says (or tweets). That makes us less safe. Very much less safe. It needs to change.
FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify in public Monday. Will we get a retraction from the president when Comey says Trump’s tweets have no basis in fact? Maybe an apology to former President Obama for accusing him of unprecedented crimes? Don’t bet on it.