Tag Archives: wiretap

DOJ shoots down another Trump lie

I cannot shake this feeling that Donald J. Trump is furious at the Department of Justice.

He selected the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, perhaps believing the AG and his team would pledge fealty to the president of the United States.

So, what does DOJ do? It files a court brief that says it can find no evidence that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump’s campaign office at Trump Tower in late 2016.

Do you know what that means? It means Trump’s defamatory lie was exposed for what it was — by members of the president’s own Justice Department team!

Man, the boss must be spittin’ mad, right?

Well, maybe not.

Trump keeps yapping about becoming more “presidential.” He’s going in the opposite direction. I do have one suggestion for the Man at the Top to ponder if he’s ever going to turn that “more presidential” corner: own up to your lying, prevaricating ways.

I’m not suggesting he needs to say “I’m a liar.” He can acknowledge in more fanciful language that he has been known to pop off without thinking, which is about the most charitable thing I can suggest about the wiretap lie.

It’s just that when the president’s handpicked attorney general’s Department of Justice has exposed this accusation as the lie most of us know it to be, then — to paraphrase former Vice President Joe Biden — that’s kind of a big … deal.

It requires an out-of-the-ordinary response … at least for this president it would be totally unexpected.

I will keep breathing normally, though, given we all know this president is incapable of admitting to doing a single thing wrong.

No wiretapping at Trump Tower … who knew?

The U.S. Justice Department has issued arguably the least surprising revelation of the Trump administration.

It is that the former President Barack Obama did not order the wiretapping of Donald Trump’s campaign offices at Trump Tower in New York City in late 2016. OK, that’s not a surprise.

The announcement came in the form of a court motion issued Friday that declared that DOJ had no evidence of any such action.

What is heartening to me, though, is that this Department of Justice has made the determination. This one, which has as its head — Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who happens to be a close political ally of the president of the United States of America.

Yes, that would be the president who defamed his immediate predecessor by asserting that he ordered the wiretap in the first place.

Trump tweeted on March 4:Ā “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

He linked Barack Obama to the disgraced late Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the guy who gained infamy by accusing every Democrat and their brother of being communists during the 1950s.

Trump never produced a shred of evidence to back his cockamamie assertion about a wiretap. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he surely would have known about it had there been an order issued; it didn’t happen.

Former FBI Director James Comey — yeah, that James Comey — told Senate committee members that he saw nothing to back up the president’s assertions about a wiretap.

So, that case is closed, as if it ever really deserved to be opened at all. But when the president of the United States issues a phony accusation, then the nation and the world take notice.

What we all saw was yet another instance of bald-faced lying by the nation’s top elected official.

Disgraceful.

Wiretap story damages Trump credibility? No-o-o-o!

This story made me react with a typical, “Well, duhhh!”

It concerns a new Quinnipiac poll that says — get ready this bombshell — Donald Trump’s credibility has been damaged by his bogus assertion that former PresidentĀ Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump’s offices in Trump Tower.

Why, I never … No s***?

Who would’ve thunk that?

You get my drift. The president’s ridiculous and, in my view, defamatory tweets about wiretapping have revealed the kind of individual who now occupies the most revered office in the greatest nation on Earth.

Indeed, he has demonstrated even more his unfitness for public office in that astonishing interview with Time magazine in which he dismisses concerns about his honesty with this: “I can’t be doing so badly because I’m president and you’re not.”

There you have it, kids. This guy is clueless in the extreme. He has no understanding of how many Americans — except, of course, for the dedicated Trumpkins — perceive the president of the United States.

The Quinnipiac poll pegs Trump’s standing at 60 percent of voters who don’t think he is believable. Actually, the biggest surprise in that poll in my mind is that the percentage of those who disbelieve Trump isn’t actually greater.

But, hey. I am not going to question the legitimacy of the poll.

What I will continue to question, though, is how in the name of political sanityĀ Donald John Trump got elected to this office in the first place.

Intelligence panel chair channels Trump with disclosure

Well now …

What in the world is going on here? The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes says someone surveilled Donald J. Trump’s e-mail during the time between the election and when he became president of the United States, which seems at first blush to give a tiny sliver of justification for what the president has alleged about that bogus wiretap assertion.

Not so fast, according to the Intelligence panel’s top-ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, who says Nunes didn’t follow anything close to proper protocol by making that announcement.

Not surprisingly, Schiff has doubts about what Chairman Nunes has suggested.

Schiff said the information Nunes reportedly has should have been shared with other committee members before he went public with it. Schiff said the committee hasn’t seen anything.

This makes me wonder: Is the chairman channeling Donald Trump, suggesting something out loud without any proof of what he’s saying?

Nunes isn’t saying, to be fair, that what he has discovered gives any credence to the bogus notion that former President Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump’s campaign offices in Trump Tower. Schiff, though, is angry with the chairman for blithely introducing this information without briefing other committee members.

He calls it a “profound irregularity.”

I just hope it doesn’t become a profound cover-up.

Collusion or not? Let’s wait for the FBI to do its job

FBI Director James Comey today dropped two more live grenades into our laps.

The first one is that the FBI can find no evidence, zero, that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Donald J. Trump’s campaign office in Trump Tower. He cannot locate any indication that any order was given by a federal judge; he cannot find evidence of any sort of surveillance.

So …

The suggestion that the president of the United States essentially defamed his predecessor — when he tweeted the allegation of wiretapping — now has been given some credence.

The bigger grenade might be the second disclosure that Comey made to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.

It is that the FBI is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Comey said FBI policy usually doesn’t allow comment on active investigations. The director made an exception in this case. The public interest is too great to ignore, he said.

What in the world does that mean?

I believe that if the FBI determinesĀ there was collusion, that the Trump campaign worked actively with Russian spooks/goons/intelligence officers to torpedo the campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton … well, I think we have a certifiable impeachable offense on our hands.

To be fair, there hasn’t been a shred of evidence presented yet to suggest any such collusion. There’s been a lot of chatter, gossip and what might be called charitably “circumstantial evidence.” We cannot go on circumstance, however. We need incontrovertible proof, man!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Comey told committee members that this probe willĀ require lots of time to complete. It’s complicated and detailed, he said.

Take all the timeĀ you need, Mr. FBI Director. I think we can wait for a detailed answer, no matter your conclusion.

Rep. Schiff: We’re at the ‘bottom’ of wiretap story

Adam Schiff strikes me as a thoughtful young man.

He’s the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He and the Republican chairman, Deven Nunes, also of California, have become a sort of tag-team that seeks to get Donald Trump to produce proof of a dangerous allegation he has made about former President Obama.

Today, Schiff said on “Meet the Press” that Congress appears to have reached “the bottom” of the president’sĀ assertion — that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump’s offices in New York City.

There is no “bottom,” Schiff said. No proof. No evidence. No substantiation. The president, said the congressman, has now introduced a dangerous new standard for recklessness that could have profound impact on any business the United States seeks to conduct at home or abroad.

Indeed, how are our allies going to react to anything that comes from the president’s Twitter account? He’s already dragged the British intelligence network into this tawdry matter, asserting that the Brits had a hand in the alleged wiretap.

He stood with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and sought to lure her into the ongoing matter, suggesting that Obama had wiretapped Merkel and other European allies.

The president is not backing off. He’s offering not a hint of proof. Nor is he offering the scent of contrition.

What in the world is this man — the president of the United States — going to do next? Who else is he going to slander?

We might find out plenty this week when FBI Director James Comey walks onto Capitol Hill to testify about what he knows and whether there was any authorization given to do what Trump has accused the former president of doing.

I would think the FBI boss would know.

If not, well,Ā Rep.Ā Schiff is right. We’ve found the bottomĀ of this story. And as the late Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, Calif.: We’ve found “there is no there there.”

Waiting for an apology that’ll never arrive

I am going to give tons of credit to an Oklahoma congressman.

Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican, wants Donald J. Trump to say he’s sorry for defaming President Barack H. Obama. He says the current president should apologize to his immediate predecessor for leveling a charge that he hasn’t proved — and will never be able to prove.

Wait for it, Rep. Cole. Wait a long, long time. It won’t arrive.

The president doesn’t apologize for anything.

Not even when he’s dead wrong.Ā Or when he defames someone, as he has done with President Obama.Ā Or when — in the minds of some constitutional scholars — he could face a potentially impeachable offense.

Not this guy. Not Trump.

The president has yet to say anything resembling contrition for suggesting the former president ordered a wiretap of the Trump campaign’s offices in Trump Tower. Never mind the laughable and ludicrous assertion from White House spokesmen that the president didn’t mean actual wiretapping, even though he said it in a series of tweets. Trump put the wordsĀ  in quote marks, the argument goes, suggesting that he didn’t mean it, um, literally.

Of course he did!

What the president hasn’t done is tap into the vast intelligence network at his disposal to back up what he has alleged.

Why is that? Because he made it up. All of it. Every single word of it.

As Politico reports: “Obama and his former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, both publicly denied the claim quickly after Trump raised it, while FBI Director James Comey, also saying it was not true, privately urged Trumpā€™s Justice Department to refute it.

“This week, the leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence committees have also come out and said they have found no evidence to suggest that the allegation is true.”

Should the president apologize, as Rep. Cole has suggested? Yes. Will he do so? I am not going to keep the light on waiting for it.

Trump now relying on others to prove it?

White House press flack Sean Spicer says Donald Trump is “confident” that Justice Department officials will prove what the president has asserted.

Which is that former President Barack Obama committed a crime by ordering a wiretap on Trump’s campaign offices in New York City.

The president made that scurrilous allegation in a tweet several days ago. He hasn’t produced a scintilla of evidence to back it up. DOJ is now looking for proof. Spicer says Justice will find it.

Here’s my question: If the president had the proof when he fired off that tweet, why didn’t he produce it at the time he made the accusation?

Let me think. Oh, I know! That’s because he didn’t have it! He doesn’t have it now! The Justice Department won’t find it, either.

This is yet anotherĀ game of verbal gymnastics that Trump’s spokesman is playing with the media that Trump despises.

If the president had the goods he should haveĀ produced them long before now.

So many lies, so much damage

The president of the United States has lied with such recklessness since entering the political world, it’s becoming difficult to single out which lie has done the most damage.

I believe I should look at one lie that on the surface seems the least consequential, but which has produced the most serious consequence.

It was his pledge to stop tweeting once he became president.

Yep, Donald J. Trump made that pledge. I cannot remember when he did, but he did. He said he would be more “presidential” once he actually took the oath, settled into the big chair in the Oval Office and started signing executive orders to do the things he promised to do.

Has he kept that pledge? Hah! No.

What has been the result? It’s been pretty far-reaching. I’ll start with the most recent tweet, which he fired off more than a week ago early on one morning. It was where he said Barack Obama “wiretapped” his office at Trump Tower. He said his predecessor did it, that he broke the law, that he committed a felony. He called it a “fact.”

Trump’s tweet has ignited a firestorm. I mean, it’s a serious conflict in Washington, D.C. He has generated bipartisan criticism, although the volume has been much louder among Democrats than Republicans.

Is this Twitter tempest ever going to end? Is this how he’s going to conduct foreign and domestic policy, through the use of a social medium in which he makes statements without consulting his senior staff?

Didn’t this clown say he would surround himself with the “smartest people” in the history of humankind? If that is what he has done, why aren’t they telling this idiot to cease and desist with the Twitter nonsense? Maybe they are … and he’s not listening.

The liar in chief is out of control.

You want any more examples of how dangerous this behavior can become in a world fraught with serious peril? We are witnessing it as it is happening.

So, ‘wiretap’ doesn’t mean wiretap?

The White House has issued one of the strangest “clarifications” in modern political history.

It was that Donald J. Trump didn’t mean “wiretap” when he referred to it in a series of tweets regarding an allegation he leveled at President Barack Obama.

He had said that Obama had ordered a “wiretap” of his Trump Tower offices during the 2016 presidential campaign. Yes, he usedĀ  a very close variation of that word.

But, but, but …

The White House said today he didn’t actually mean “wiretap.”.

Do you follow me? I didn’t think so. I cannot follow it, either.

Here’s one of Trump’s tweets: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

OK, so he didn’t use the word “wiretap” in this tweet. “Tapp my phones,” though, means the same thing. Doesn’t it? I thought so.

Oh, but no-o-o-o. The president didn’t mean it, according to the White House press office.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked for a bit more time to provide proof — presuming that some might exist — that backs up the president’s scurrilous accusation that former President Obama broke the law.