What you heard:
Trump accused – without giving proof – President Obama having his “wires tapped” at Trump Tower before the 2016 elections.
What it is:
The accusation in question came, as many statements from the President do, in the form of a deranged tweet early on Saturday morning.
There are many ways to describe President Obama, but the most important characteristic for our purposes is that he was a man unable to unilaterally issue wiretaps, because there are very specific laws in place against that kind of thing (more on those below).
Trump Tower served as HQ during the Trump campaign, and the Trump administration/corporation (can we all agree it’s really the same thing at this point?) continues to use it as a cash cow from which to milk your tax dollars. It is also where Melania lives with their son, Barron, at an estimated cost upwards of $400k per day. For those of you keeping track at home, the annual cost of that ($182.5m) is more than the entire yearly budget of the National Endowment for the Arts ($149.9m).
What it means:
First of all, it definitely means the Prez has been getting his news from Breitbart again, which coincidentally had just been talking about this same subject. The man doesn’t have time for security briefings, but he watches 6 hours of cable news a day and surfs the net for all the crazy it can offer. Lord.
While I cannot even begin to fathom what’s inside the mind of Crazy Uncle Donny (nor would I really even want to try, tbh), it seems pretty clear that this is also a diversionary tactic after his Attorney General was caught lying to Congress. The attempt to change the narrative has worked, at least for the past few days, but here’s hoping the news outlets have learned their lessons after blowing the whole “fair and balanced” thing during the campaign season and will soon be back to the real issue at hand. Which is the whole “Trump campaign-Russian government collusion to rig the American election” thing, in case your brain has decided to block your memories in an effort to protect itself.
What could happen:
The Republican Congress has once again made a mockery of the offices they hold and have said they will add investigation of the previous administration into their Russia investigation, even though this accusation has exactly zero proof behind it. Don’t be scared of the result, though, because somehow the Buffoon-in-Chief has managed to give the gift of a win-win situation (although with potential outcomes of very disparate odds).
Outcome #1 (odds: 99.99%): the President just making things up again.
Reasons to believe this:
- He has a tendency to do that kind of thing (remember when he said he lost the popular vote because 3 million people voted illegally?).
- Multiple former administration staffers and even the Director of the FBI have said that the statement is untrue.
- The President (and/or their administration) does not have the legal power to issue a warrant to tap a citizen’s phone. In order for that warrant to be obtained, the Justice Department has to present a case to a federal judge. That judge then has to find probable cause that the suspect a) committed a federal crime or b) is a foreign agent.
Outcome #2 (odds: 0.01% – and even that’s a little high): Trump Tower was under surveillance. (While I do not enjoy even entertaining this prospect, the fact is I also did not entertain the prospect, pre-November 2016, that I would be blogging about the actions of one President Trump. So here we are.)
Reasons to believe this:
- None that are credible.
- One that is circumstantial: the continued scandal around the Trump administration and its Russia contacts. If Trump Tower was indeed under surveillance, it was probably for this sticky little matter.
Why is this also a win? Because it would mean that the Department of Justice and a federal judge found sufficient evidence that people inside Trump Tower were committing federal crimes. And that is some evidence I’m sure the American public would love to see.