The presidency of Donald Trump is playing out like a reality TV show. Each week, there is something that changes the national narrative to a subplot of distractions. While the mainstream press has been focused on Trump and members of his administration over their relationship with Russia, a lie of epic proportions was tweeted by the president:
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
That now famous tweet has snowballed into congressional inquiries and calls for Trump to produce evidence to support his claim, which former President Barack Obama denied. Soon after, the impact of Trump’s words was felt, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to redefine the word wiretap and stated to the media, “There is significant reporting about surveillance techniques that have existed throughout the 2016 election. … I think he feels very confident that what will ultimately come of this will vindicate him.”
Other Trump surrogates insinuated that Trump had a sense of humor and attempted to defend the indefensible. It was stated by one Trump pundit that basically Obama had the power to wiretap Trump’s phones and he could have, just as German Chancellor’s Angela Merkel’s phone was allegedly tapped by US intelligence. However, it is illegal for the president to order the tapping of a U.S. citizen and the Justice Department has confirmed they had no tap ordered by President Obama on then-candidate Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared on FOX News and spoke with correspondent Tucker Carlson. During the interview, Trump stated that his source for the wiretap claims came from the news — the same group that he maligned and gave the title opposition party and purveyors of fake news. Trump mentioned an article in the New York Times from January 2017 and stated, “…they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article, I think they used that exact term.”
He went on to say there were other sources and said, “I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening and wiretapping. I said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about,’ … I’ve been seeing a lot of things.”
However, unable to produce any solid evidence, Trump said, “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
Congressional leaders have given the Justice Department until next Monday to produce answers to written questions about whether it had applied for warrants to spy on Trump and his associates. Failing to do so, Congress may issue subpoenas to former Obama officials including Eric Holder, who was head of the Justice Department under Obama, as well as members of the Trump administration.