After a rough week that saw Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuse himself from a Justice Department investigation into Russia’s election interference, Trump out of the blue published the Tweets at the ungodly hour of 3:35 a.m. this morning.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you. https://t.co/lEVscjkzSw
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 4, 2017
GOP Senator Demands Trump Produce Evidence
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., urged President Trump today to provide the evidence backing up his claims that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. “We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and the President’s allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots,” Sasse said in a statement.
He called Trump’s allegation “very serious.”
Sasse said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) could have granted a warrant allowing intelligence agencies to tap Trump’s phones. Other law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the state Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney could also get a warrant from a court.
Otherwise, any legaltap would have been illegal. The president doesn’t have the authority on his own to order wiretaps of U.S. citizens. The President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this,” Sasse said. “It is possible that he was illegally tapped.”
Trump not only failed to produce any evidence to back up his claim, but also made the statement apparently without understanding the limits on presidential power. Neither Obama nor any president, for that matter, has the power to order a wiretap on their own.
Despite touching off a Constitutional crisis, Trump also found time to weigh in on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to quit Trump’s old NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show,” Trump lamented on the social media site.
Trump’s Tweets about Obama touched off a storm of ridicule on social media, much of it questioning the president’s sanity.
The New York Times reported in January that law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and Trump associates.
Some Capitol Hill lawmakers say they were told in an intelligence briefing that transcripts of conversations exist between Trump campaign surrogates and Russian officials. Whether that triggered Trump’s Twitter rant is unknown.
For the record, Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis flatly rejected Trump’s claims.
U.S. government officials who would know whether wiretaps were authorized during the election, said Trump did not consult with them before making the allegations, NBC News reported.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Trump’s tweets called Trump’s Tweet’s “bad” and “sick.”
“If there is something bad or sick going on, it is the willingness of the nation’s chief executive to make the most outlandish and destructive claims without providing a scintilla of evidence to support them,” he said in a statement.