Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at the afternoon press briefing that President Trump “doesn’t really think” that former President Obama wiretapped him. In fact, Spicer says Trump never said that Obama wiretapped him at all.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”
There is no doubt that, at the very least, Trump’s tweets left the impression that his phone calls were being monitored by people in the Obama administration with the knowledge of President Obama himself:
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump Bots will fire back that media outlets were reporting on this “surveillance” even prior to the election. But that’s a load of horse manure:
He added: “It is interesting how many news outlets reported that this activity was taking place during the 2016 election cycle, and now we’re wondering where the proof is. It is many of the same outlets in this room that talked about the activities that were going on back then.”
It is unclear what reports Spicer was referring to. News outlets have reported that intelligence officials have been investigating whether there were inappropriate ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. As part of the probe into the country’s suspected attempts to meddle in the election and regular surveillance on Russia’s ambassador, they have reportedly intercepted communications between some campaign aides and Russian officials.
But no credible mainstream American outlets have reported that the Obama administration conducted surveillance on Trump Tower or the Trump campaign, whether in the form of a court-ordered wiretap or something else.
Intercepting communications between Russians and Trump aides is not even close to the concept of “surveillance” as Spicer lets on. Trump aides were apparently not the target of the intercepts. The Russians were.
Could it be that Spicer was giving a response to the House Intelligence Committee’s letter to the White House demanding proof by today of wiretapping? Instead of answering directly, Spicer simply moved the goalposts by saying Trump didn’t mean wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.
But it’s impossible to say what Kellyanne Conway meant in this interview:
Kellyanne Conway, a senior counselor to President Donald Trump, doubled down Sunday night on claims that President Obama had wiretapped and spied on Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election. As usual, Conway’s comments, which were made in an interview at her home in Alpine, New Jersey, were not supported by any evidence. She claimed that Obama may have used “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.” Conway said that “there are many ways to surveil each other,” including through “phones and television sets.” Trump has said, also without evidence, that he believes the Obama administration was spying on him. Asked by CNN on Monday whether she could provide evidence of such surveillance, Conway replied, “I’m not Inspector Gadget.”
“Microwaves that turn into cameras”? I gotta get me one of them.
Unfortunately, Conway — like every other Trump aide and the president himself — has yet to offer any proof whatsoever that any of this surveillance took place.
But that’s OK. In the Trumpverse, just saying it makes it so. “Evidence” is for liberals and chumps. Real men don’t give evidence. In fact, real men pay no attention to statements they made before and then make stuff up entirely out of whole cloth, pretending what they originally said was never said at all.
Must be the magic microwaves.