If I were a Democrat, I’d be afraid. I’d be very afraid.
Forget the usual smokescreen of hyper-partisan blather from Chuck Schumer on “Meet the Press” or the myriad calls for Trump’s head from the usual press suspects and consider the situation: Congressional committees, the FBI, not to mention numerous avid media organizations and who knows who else (NSA? CIA? ASPCA?) have been investigating putative Trump-Russia collusion for some time now and come up with… exactly nothing.
Are they likely to come up with something of significance at this point? Almost certainly not.
So now we have Trump’s bold, brash, “unhinged” Twitter accusations that Obama wiretapped him. This came after Mark Levin, Breitbart, Andrew C. McCarthy, Louise Mensch and others I’ve forgotten about or am unaware of reported about two appeals to FISA courts (one denied last summer and one approved in October) for permission to tap phones in Trump Tower. Did they happen?
It seems that tapping of some sort actually occurred because it was virtually acknowledged in tweets from Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who sprang to action only hours after Trump tweeted, writing: “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it.” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, had almost simultaneously declared: “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U. S. citizen.” Ordered? That’s what we used to call plausible deniability and now is known as a wiggle word.
Trump wants this possible surveillance to be investigated along with the rest of the supposed Russia mess — the little that’s left of it to be cleared up. Meanwhile, that Democratic Party house organ The New York Times is reporting that James Comey himself wants the Justice Department to issue a denial that such a wiretap ever existed — or so the paper’s ubiquitous “sources” say. Of course the Times itself saw it differently only a couple of months ago. Meanwhile, former DNI James Clapper — who famously told all his fellow citizens a boldface lie about the NSA — has assured the media regarding this particular tap, “I can deny it.” (Yes, you can.)
All this while Barack and Michelle Obama, rather than graciously depart the D.C. scene in the manner of previous presidents — recent ones anyway — have moved into a local estate with their constant companion Valerie Jarrett in some kind of Ménage à Medici as if Barack never had an intention to leave and expects to serve a third term.
My guess is this will all come down to whether our former president knew about this wiretapping — whoever authorized it and wherever it came from — and, if so, when. And also how he reacted to it and what he did from there. It’s all, in the grand Clintonian tradition, about what the definition of “ordered” is.
Interviewed on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Tom Cotton — as close an approximation to “Mr. Smith” as we have in Congress — was asked if the Senate Intelligence panel would address Trump’s wiretapping claim and his answer was a Jimmy Stewart-like “sure.”
Now to why, if I were a Democrat, I’d be afraid. To explore that you don’t need to be some super-experienced attorney like Andrew McCarthy, although that doesn’t hurt. Rusty old Occam’s Razor will do — just change the blade and ask some obvious questions somehow overlooked by the MSM in this weekend’s chat shows. These questions, needless to say, might best be asked under oath by a congressional committee. Later, they might even have to be dealt with in a court of law, as attorney Robert Barnes details well in this article.
Would an attorney general (in this case Loretta Lynch) normally inform the White House of a decision to go to a FISA court for approval of the tapping of a political presidential opponent? Did Ms. Lynch so inform the White House? Was there any discussion of this decision between the WH and the DOJ? Why did the Justice Department decide to go back to the FISA court in October for a second try at approval? Whose idea was that? Did they did have additional information? What was that? Was Trump’s name included in the brief the first time but omitted in the second? Why? If none of this happened, who made it up and why? That makes no sense, considering how easy it would be to disprove. Unless, of course, although it’s not supposed to happen, the NSA just regularly taps everything and everybody, including presidential candidates, the president-elect, and the president himself. But why then on Jan 12 of this year, again according to the New York Times, did the Obama administration suddenly broadly extend the powers of the NSA?
I could go on, but you get the point. The possibilities here are endless. And WikiLeaks already revealed Obama’s extensive use of wiretaps. It’s a long list. Nothing particularly new here except this one, if it happened, was aimed at his most important adversary in our democratic republic, threatening the very underpinnings of our country and making Nixon seem like an amateur.
No doubt the Democrats will hide behind national security, but that can only go on for so long. People in leadership positions like Sen. Cotton are entitled to the facts — and they will get them eventually, perhaps quickly since this is a Trump administration finally, even if so many appointments are being held up. Also — and this is what the sleaze-artists like Schumer and my own Rep. Adam Schiff know well — Trump has obviously been wiretapped up the you-know-what, probably from numerous sources. If not, where have all these leaks come from? Mars?
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. He can be followed on Twitter @rogerlsimon.