Here we go again. Just when you thought President Trump’s claims about the Obama administration wiretapping him were about to die an ugly death, more information has been brought to the table, giving the rumors a fresh breath of life.
On Wednesday, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) told reporters that members of the Trump transition team, and possibly Trump himself, were indeed under surveillance following the election in November.
“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored. It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”
Nunes goes on to describe how he believes the surveillance is merely an “incidental collection” of information but is “alarmed” at how widely it has been distributed throughout the intelligence community, especially since the gathered information had nothing to do with the ongoing investigation of Russia’s meddling in our election.
By “incidental collection,” Nunes means it is most likely that the information comes from conversations between Trump aides and foreign targets of surveillance, which makes it legal for the United States intelligence community to monitor the calls. How the information was documented and spread, however, raises questions of legality.
Within the intelligence community documents, the identities of Trump aides were revealed by name, which is not a common procedure when handling information regarding U.S. citizens who are not the target of investigation. Nunes, however, claimed that multiple Trump transition team members were named in the intelligence reports, not just former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Though, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) has claimed that the identities were indeed masked, but could be easily determined.
This type of information is supposed to be kept confidential, but alleged members of the intelligence community have been illegally spreading this information like wildfire, attempting to discredit and undermine President Trump and his staff any way they can.
Nunes finally stated that he was going to the White House later Wednesday to brief President Trump on the information he has uncovered, but did not reveal where he received the information. He hopes to have more information from the FBI, CIA, and NSA regarding the surveillance by Friday.
Predictably, Democrats are throwing a tantrum over this. The complaint is that the President and his staff should not be briefed over this information since they are currently under investigation, even though these surveilled calls had nothing to do with the Russian investigation according to Nunes.
So why the big fuss? It’s because Obama’s intelligence community isn’t as squeaky clean as Democrats have been portraying them to be, and anyone connected to Obama has to be treated with love and respect no matter what, because, you know, Obama’s name must not be defiled in the slightest.
But besides all of this, Trump could have avoided the extreme criticism he received from claiming Obama wiretapped Trump Tower if he would have just been more precise. He threw himself in that fire, and unless he can prove otherwise, it is one of the most careless claims he’s made to date. If Trump wants to be more trustworthy he has to stop making these wild accusations. Otherwise, he is going to continue to be easy pickings for Democrat criticism.
That being said, it is going to be interesting to see where this story leads from here. Will the leakers be revealed? Will Trump back off his wiretapping claim now that everyone under the sun has declared it to be untrue? Will this only refuel the Russia-Trump collaboration theories?
Make sure to stock up on popcorn. The next few days should be exciting.