Time to Investigate Obama, not Just Trump
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff is in high dudgeon over the bad form of House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes in reporting his bombshell -- that the chairman had been shown actual surveillance (not involving Russia) of the Trump transition team and possibly of the then president-elect himself -- to President Trump before he presented the evidence to the committee.
Bad form, quite possibly. But so what?
The facts are what they are.
What appears at this writing is that Trump transition team members and possibly Trump himself had their identities revealed, were "unmasked" in the parlance, while foreign diplomats were being surveilled. The identities of American citizens were not sufficiently "minimized," as they are required to be by law. This is a crime one would assume would put the perpetrators in prison. So far it hasn't. More than that, such behavior is a grave threat to a free society, to all of us.
In effect, Trump was wiretapped -- if not in the corny, old sense of the word, something very close. Technologically, he was wiretapped, as were several (actually many) others.
A fair amount of this happened not long before Barack Obama suddenly changed the rules regarding raw intelligence, for the first time ever allowing the NSA to share its data with 16 other intelligence agencies, thus making the dissemination of said data (i. e. leaking) many times more likely. That was done on January 12, 2017, just three scant days before Trump's inauguration. Why did the then president finally decide to make that particular change at that extremely late date, rather than on one of the previous seven years and three hundred fifty-three days of his presidency? You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes or Watson to smell a rat. Something's rotten somewhere -- and it's not Denmark.
Whether Barack Obama ordered the surveillance of Donald Trump during the transition is not the question. He would never have had to. In fact, he would have been highly unlikely to have done so for obvious legal and practical/political reasons. Instead, supporters of the then president in a position to authorize or activate such surveillance would normally know or assume his wishes anyway without having to be told and could act accordingly.
That is the way of the world since there was a world.
The operative question is whether these recorded conversations then ever wound up on Obama's desk or whether he knew about them in some other manner... and, if so, when. If the worst is true, it is a scandal that makes Watergate seem like a child's prank. Even Watergate's own Bob Woodward seemed to acknowledge as much on The O'Reilly Factor on Wednesday night.
This is why any legitimate investigation by a congressional committee or anyone else must encompass both Obama and Trump. This is a two-part story. If both parties are not investigated -- they cannot be separated -- this is no more than a partisan show. Further, the press cannot even faintly be trusted to investigate or adjudicate this matter. Their bias is so overwhelming it would sink the Titanic twice.