Early on Saturday morning, US President Donald Trump sent out five tweets that would start up another media storm as news outlets scrambled to decipher the truth, if any, of the accusations that the President leveled.
The five tweets by President Trump accused former President Barack Obama of ordering his phones to be wiretapped. He said that Obama had ordered a wiretap on the phone lines at Trump Tower in New York City in early October which was just a few weeks before the elections. The President did not offer any evidence to support his claims.
He said Obama had ordered a wiretap on the phone lines at Trump Tower in New York City in early October which was just a few weeks before the elections. The President did not offer any evidence to support his claims.
He did, however, tweet that Obama had been “turned down by a court earlier,” when he sought permission for the wiretaps which would imply that the wiretaps had been carried out illegally.
The former President has denied the claims made by his successor. A spokesman for Obama said neither he nor the White House “ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Wiretapping the phone of a US citizen is considered illegal if a warrant is not granted by a judge. For that reason, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if President Trump is accurate, and the Obama administration did act unlawfully, it could be the biggest scandal since Watergate
She says on the other hand that if the Obama administration lawfully obtained a warrant to tap the Trump campaign, it would also be a big scandal. A former senior intelligence official explained to the Washington Post why finding out about a lawful wiretap would be such a huge scandal;
“If that were the case by some chance, that means that a federal judge would have found that there was either probably cause that [Trump] had committed a crime or was an agent of a foreign power.”
The same intelligence official clarified that the claim was ‘highly unlikely’ and ‘unthinkable.’ The hanging belief is that President Trump was influenced by conservative media. Radio talk show host Mark Levin had earlier in the week spoken about Obama using ‘police state’ tactics to keep an eye on Trump and news outlet Breitbart had recycled his remarks and broken them down point-by-point.
Following President Trump’s five tweets, the US White House is asking Congress to investigate allegations. In a statement issued at 8:55 am EST on Sunday, the White House said:
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.
President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.
Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
A number of people have said that the President is simply trying to distract the American public from current investigations by the FBI and both houses of Congress into links between President Trump and Russian hackers who attempted to interfere in the US’s 2016 election.
The FBI, meanwhile, has called on the Department of Justice to swiftly denounce the claims made by the US President.