Last Friday, talk show host Mark Levin quoted former U.S. attorney Andy McCarthy that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower based on no evidence. Breitbart followed up with a thesis compiling facts and theories claiming the Obama administration wiretapped then-President elect Trump to undermine him.
The argument mostly centers around two FISA requests to tap Trump Tower, the first was denied and the second was approved.
The biggest problem with President Trump’s twitter storm this morning blaming Obama directly is that it wasn’t Obama who ordered the wiretap, it appears it was the DoJ and the FBI who applied for the FISA warrants.
The FBI applied for a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant last summer to monitor members of the Trump campaign, but was denied in its initial attempt.
Last November, former British MP and Trump-hating journalist Louise Mensch of HeatSt reported that the FBI had succeeded in its second request for a FISA warrant, and that fact was later confirmed by the BBC.
The Guardian also corroborated her report that the FBI had sought a FISA warrant last June, but it claimed that the warrant targeted “four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials,” with no mention of Trump himself.
The BBC reported that while neither Mr. Trump nor his associates are named in the FISA order, three of Trump’s associates were the targets of the investigation.
Mensch alone insisted that Trump himself was named in the initial FISA application.
Andy McCarthy reported: In June, an initial FISA affidavit (obviously prepared by the FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division) was submitted to the FISA court. It is said to have “named Trump” — but we don’t know whether that means (a) his name merely came up somewhere in the text of the affidavit or (b) he was an actual target whom the government wanted to investigate under FISA (meaning eavesdrop, read e-mail, and the like).
Such a warrant would only have been granted if the FBI—not the Obama administration—was able to convince a judge that the Trump campaign had credible links to a foreign power.
This was an FBI investigation, not an order from the White House itself. However, this is Obama’s administration over which he exercised dictator-like control at times.
FBI Director James Comey downplayed the existence of such an investigation at the time, which is probably why Trump just learned about it.
The roots of the FISA warrant were themselves very peculiar. According to both Mensch and the BBC, they centered on a server in Trump Tower found last Spring to have been communicating with Russia’s Alfa Bank, itself reportedly with strong ties to Vladimir Putin.
Everything in Russia that makes money is tied to Putin and many American businessmen do business with Russia.
The FBI reportedly came to conclude that the communications were likely innocuous. Andy McCarthy reported that the Justice Department and FBI pursued it as a national security investigation. It is outrageous for them to have continued the wiretapping if true.
The NYT reported in January that Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone were all “under scrutiny” by the U.S. intelligence for their links, which may or may not mean that they’re the “Trump associates” targeted by the FISA warrant per the Guardian and BBC reports. Manafort worked out of Trump Tower as Trump’s campaign manager for a time and lived there before Trump hired him.
When Trump said Obama was tapping “his” phones, he probably meant phones in Trump Tower (Manafort’s), not his own personal phones.
An Obama spokesman told the New York Times that “no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.”
The media is railing about Trump having no evidence. That doesn’t stop them from any anti-Trump reporting.
Trump has never been cautious in his use of words and it sometimes gets him in trouble. This will either turn out very badly for Obama or it will further diminish Trump.
Some will say the wiretapping and all of the accusations are part of a legitimate investigation into foreign influence and others will see it as McCarthyism.
We all know that Obama is conducting a covert operation to take down the Trump presidency. We need more information but will we ever get the truth?
These claims and tweets by President Trump will be used to damage the Trump presidency.
If nothing else, we should be concerned about how these FISA courts operate because this warrant does not appear to have been based on evidence of shady dealings, it was possibly an illegal fishing expedition which appears to have turned up no evidence and yet the wiretapping continued.
Andy McCarthy explains that a FISA wiretap requires no showing of a crime, just evidence amounting to probable cause that the target of the wiretap is an agent of a foreign power. (A foreign power can be another country or a foreign terrorist organization.)
This Administration would never listen in on conversations of opponents, would they?
Here’s the transcript on Lewandowski saying that the feds had bugged the office of Sessions pic.twitter.com/ukVLeENFnY
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 5, 2017