Tag Archives: wiretapping

Letter from ‘BO’ now seems oddly unwelcome to DT

Under normal circumstances, a letter from one president of the United States to his successor wouldn’t seem to be worthy of much attention.

These aren’t normal times. For starters, Donald J. Trump isn’t your “normal” president. He spoke kindly of his immediate predecessor, Barack H. Obama, when the two men met face to face for the first time in the Oval Office right after Trump’s election as president.

It went downhill from there. Rapidly. Angrily.

So, when CNN released the contents of the traditional note that presidents leave behind, it’s worth noting the outreach that President Obama extended to his successor.

The note ends with this: Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.

I do not doubt the former president’s good wishes for the Trumps. I’d like to throw away my doubt about how the new president felt about the former president upon visiting him in the Oval Office. But I cannot.

Here’s the full note from Obama to Trump.

If only the president hadn’t defamed the former president with that scurrilous and baseless claim about wiretapping the Trump campaign’s offices in Trump Tower. Or if only he would resist the temptation to say again and again about the “mess” he inherited from the 44th president, which I happen to believe is another lie.

Trump’s loud mouth and his boisterous criticism of All Things Obama appear aimed at pleasing only the base within his own Republican Party while ignoring the support that the former president enjoyed among millions of other Americans.

So now we know what the former president wrote to the man who took his place in the Oval Office. To me, the most poignant passage in the note deals with the transitory nature of the office.

It reads: (W)e are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.

There’s no need to elaborate on whether I believe Donald Trump — to date — has kept faith with that bit of advice.

Nunes surveillance claim shot down in flames

Here it is, yet again.

Members of Congress appear to have disproved Rep. Devin Nunes’s contention that someone spied on Donald Trump’s campaign. At the very least they have cast serious doubt on the things Nunes said about in response to Trump’s ridiculous/slanderous assertion that Barack Obama “ordered” the wire tap on Trump’s campaign.

Nunes has removed himself as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian government officials to influence the 2016 presidential election.

That’s the good news, in my humble view.

The bad news is that the controversy surrounding so-called surveillance will continue to swirl around the Trump administration. It will swirl until we know with absolute certainty whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian government hackers.

The president can bring this controversy to a close as well by disclosing what he knew about his campaign’s activity and when he knew it.

This story will not go away

There’s also the angle about Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. Trump suggested Rice might have broken the law by revealing the names of individuals who might have been tracked by U.S. intelligence agencies. The lawmakers who have slammed the lid on Nunes’s assertion about the surveillance also seem to have debunked any notion that Rice did anything wrong.

The murkiness of this story only is worsening.

We need clarity. Now.

It’s getting deeper around the president

Is it me or does it seem that the doo-doo is piling up around the president of the United States of America?

* The FBI director says Donald Trump’s allegation that Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his offices in New York City is bogus.

* Director James Comey then says his agency is conducting an investigation into whether there is possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump presidential campaign to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

Hang with me …

* Trump has contended that former campaign chief Paul Manafort had no contact with Russian officials. Then The Associated Press reports that Manafort got paid $10 million to work for Russian interests.

* House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said today that he has information that suggests Trump campaign officials were subjects of “incidental” surveillance.

* Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam Schiff said Nunes didn’t bother to tell other committee members before going public. Then came this from Schiff: The committee has “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.

* Finally, Sen. John McCain — the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee — said today there needs to be a special counsel appointed to probe this Russia matter. Why? The Senate, he said, is no longer capable of doing the job.

McCain lays it on the line.

My head is spinning. It’s about to explode!

How can it be that we’re only two months into this new president’s administration and it is being eaten alive by these matters of its own making?

In the meantime, the president remains silent about Russia. He won’t acknowledge that the Obama wiretap allegation is as phony as his years-long assertion that Barack Obama was born in Africa and wasn’t qualified to serve as president.

We have a reckless serial liar serving as president of the United States.

However, of all the messiness that has soiled the president — and the presidency — the one that frightens me the most is the possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to influence our presidential election.

I believe the word for that is “treason.”

GOP rising against Trump’s bogus wiretap claim

Donald Trump needs to take it back. He didn’t mean what he said about Barack Obama allegedly wiretapping his successor as president of the United States.

That’s the word coming from a growing number of Republican members of Congress, both senators and House members. They are feeling shamed by the president’s recklessness, his utter disregard for propriety and his misunderstanding of due process.

Will the president do as his fellow Republicans are demanding? I am not holding my breath. I am not at all confident that the president will issue anything resembling a sincere mea culpa for what he has done.

GOP piles on

What is that? He has essentially defamed his predecessor. He has accused the former president of committing a felony.

He said President Obama ordered a wiretap, which he cannot do under U.S. law. Who’s the authority on that? Oh, let’s see … the director of the FBI, James Comey, who on Monday shattered the president’s assertion about a wiretap that never occurred.

How does this president take it back? It would have to involve an actual apology, something Trump says he’s never done.

The wiretap allegation follows the pattern of lies, deceit and innuendo that Trump has demonstrated repeatedly since the moment he declared his presidential candidacy in the summer of 2015.

Many of us expressed concern from the outset about Trump’s fitness for the presidency. I will submit yet again that the president is not fit for the office he occupies.

Even a retraction of the Twitter tantrum that ignited this firestorm will do little to assuage concerns about his moral fitness to be president.

If it comes — and if the president follows the advice of his fellow Republicans — he damn sure better do a better job of it than when he declared at the end of a lengthy statement about some hotel he had opened that President Barack Obama was in fact born in the United States.

Would a retraction end this discussion? It might end talk of the specific allegation Trump has made against Obama. As for the president’s continual use of Twitter to make ridiculous statements that articulate some form of U.S. policy, well … that’s another matter altogether.

Apologize, Mr. President, just say you’re sorry

Dear Mr. President,

I have no idea whether you or your staff reads the stuff that comes from this blog, but I’ll offer this bit of advice anyway.

Say you’re sorry for defaming Barack Obama. Admit you made a mistake. Come clean with an admission that you woke up one morning, that you weren’t quite awake or alert before you blurted out that tweet in which you accused the former president of wiretapping your campaign offices at Trump Tower.

The jig’s up, Mr. President. The FBI director, the guy who many Democrats believe torpedoed Hillary Clinton’s campaign with that e-mail-related letter to Congress on the eve of the election, has just blown your wiretapping tweet to bits.

He said he has no information to confirm what you have alleged. He said the Justice Department has no information either in any of its branch offices.

I get that you don’t apologize. I’ve heard all that stuff about you — and from you, sir. I have read about how you said you’ve never sought forgiveness.

Take my word for it, Mr. President: an apology doesn’t signal weakness. On the contrary, it signals strength. It tells us that you are man enough to own up to making a mistake.

Mr. President, you need a serious reset here. These tweets of yours are damaging the country at many levels. They compromise our national security; they send bizarre messages to our allies; they make you sound like a know-nothing teenager.

In the case of the Obama wiretapping allegation — which the FBI director has shot down in flames — they expose you to accusations of slander and defamation.

C’mon, Mr. President. Just say you’re sorry. Pledge to us you’ll close your Twitter account, and then do it.

The presidency deserves to be occupied by a grownup.

So far, sir, you aren’t acting like one.

Big week awaits the president

Donald “Smart Person” Trump is going to have a big week.

Part of it might bode well for the president. The rest of it, well, possibly not so well.

* Neil Gorsuch takes the stand this coming week as the Senate Judiciary Committee grills him on why he should take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gorsuch is Trump’s choice to fill the seat vacated by the sudden death of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia — more than a year ago! The seat should have been filled by President Obama, who picked Merrick Garland, but the Republicans who control the Senate stonewalled the president and blocked Garland’s confirmation.

Now we have Gorsuch. He’s a solid jurist. He’s a bit too conservative for my taste, but hey, Trump’s the president, not me. He gets to pick someone for the high court. The American Bar Association has declared Gorsuch to be “well qualified.”

* Then we get to hear from FBI Director James Comey, who’s going to have a thing or three to say about wiretapping and whether Trump has the goods on whether President Obama ordered the bugging of Trump’s offices in New York.

Comey has hinted broadly that Trump has fabricated the assertion that Obama committed a felony, which to my way of thinking is a defamatory accusation. Senators will get to grill Comey heavily on all of that.

It’s ironic in the extreme that Comey would turn on Trump, given the manner in which he torpedoed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign 11 days prior to Election Day with that letter to Congress announcing he was taking a fresh look at those “damn e-mails” that dogged Hillary’s campaign from its outset. Trump was ecstatic about the disclosure of the letter and just couldn’t say enough positive things about the FBI director.

I wonder what he’s going to say if and/or when Comey debunks this ridiculous notion that President Obama bugged Trump Tower.

Let’s all stay tuned. Get the popcorn ready.

Now the Brits have tapped Trump? C’mon, Mr. President!

The hits just keep coming.

Donald J. Trump has accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his office. He has no evidence of it. Congressional intelligence committee chairs can’t find it, either. Trump stands by his lie.

Now he’s gone after the United Kingdom. He said the British wiretapped him, too. The president’s source for that whopper? Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, a former judge who’s become a right-wing shill for the “fair and balanced” network.

Trump didn’t back off the accusation about the British. He hasn’t backed off his assertion that President Obama tapped his phones.

The British are rightfully quite angry.

Trump’s justification for the British wiretapping allegation is a beaut. He said he wasn’t offering any “opinion” on the matters, just repeating the statement that Napolitano made.

OK, Mr. President. That makes it all better. How silly of me or anyone else to assume you were fomenting a lie by repeating it.

The president is unfit to hold the office he occupies. Unfit, I am telling you!

How long can Spicer keep defending the indefensible?

I believe it’s a reasonable question: How much longer can Sean Spicer keep defending a president who is unable to tell the truth?

Donald J. Trump keeps trotting out whopper after whopper, putting his press secretary in a patently untenable position of having to defend what he must know is a lie.

Brent Budowsky, a contributor to The Hill, posits the notion that Spicer should quit and that he well might become one of the president’s most high-profile casualties in his ongoing war with the truth.

Here is Budowsky’s essay for The Hill.

I believe Spicer has principles. Sadly — in my view, at least — he seems to have taken some sort of secret oath to bury them while he briefs the media about the president’s torrent of untruths.

The Barack Obama wiretapping fiction is the latest example. Spicer surely knows the president doesn’t have a shred of evidence to back up his allegation that Obama wiretapped his offices at Trump Tower. Then he is forced to dance this rhetorical jig with the media about so-called “air quotes” around the word “wiretap,” meaning that Trump didn’t mean what he said.

How long can this guy Spicer, who was Republican National Committee press secretary before joining the White House staff, continue this charade?

Everyone has his or her limits. Everyone. Even White House press spokesmen.

Trump relies on talking heads for his wiretap allegation?

Donald J. Trump is in command of the world’s most impressive intelligence-gathering network.

He is commander in chief of the world’s greatest military machine.

Does he rely on those immense tools to inform him of the “fact,” as he put it, that Barack Obama wiretapped his campaign offices at Trump Tower?

Oh, no. He relied on talking heads, such as Fox News’s Bret Baier and Sean Hannity; he also has relied on news stories in the “failing” New York Times that “talked about wiretaps.”

With that, the president of the United States launched his Twitter tirade alleging that the former president broke the law.

In the meantime, Senate and House intelligence committee leaders — both Democrat and Republican — say they have “no evidence” of any wiretapping occurring at Trump Tower. Ditto, said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

It ain’t there. The president now wants us to believe yet another lie?

It’s official: Trump has blown himself apart

After the latest and “greatest” Donald J. Trump tweet-storm — this time regarding his immediate predecessor as president of the United States — I am compelled to ask a simple question.

Can someone explain to me as if I’m a 5-year-old why in the name of all that is holy did 62 million Americans vote for Trump as president?

Trump now says Barack Obama wiretapped the new president’s offices at Trump Tower in New York. He once again offered no evidence. No proof. Nothing to substantiate a single idiotic word he sent out via Twitter.

What’s more, then we get U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican — and former GOP presidential opponent of Trump, saying he is “worried” about the president’s moronic accusation.

What the hell does that mean, senator? Worried? About what?

I can’t tell if he’s worried that the president would resort to such idiocy or he’s worried that there might be something to what he has alleged.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump said in one of his tweets.

President Obama, of course, has denied any such thing ever occurred.

At issue, in case you’ve forgotten, is whether the Trump campaign had any improper or illegal contact with Russian government officials during the campaign or immediately afterward — and before Trump took office. Did they talk about the sanctions that the Obama administration had leveled against the Russians because 17 U.S. intelligence agencies believe they sought to influence the outcome of the election?

Trump now has flipped his beanie. His butter has slipped off his noodles.

Some of us out here warned about Trump’s temperament, his judgment, his fitness for the job he won. The very idea that the president of the United States would launch this Twitter tirade and accuse his predecessor of breaking the law is — all by itself — enough to disqualify this individual from holding any public office.

Then again, I thought so way back when he said Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured” by the North Vietnamese and beaten to within an inch of his life while being held captive during the Vietnam War.

My question still stands: How did this clown win a presidential election?