Reporting on Trump’s allegations of wiretapping, the BBC says:
The Republican president, who faces intense scrutiny over alleged Russian interference in support of his presidential bid, made the claims in a series of tweets on Saturday.
He offered no evidence to support his allegation that phones at Trump Tower were tapped last year.
Perhaps the BBC could have also mentioned that there is no evidence to support the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, either. So we’re looking at two sets of allegations, neither of which have been backed up by evidence.
But it’s interesting to look at the allegations in each case. When Russia was accused of “hacking” the 2016 election a lot of people asked, quite reasonably, “What exactly do you mean by that?” Nobody came forward and gave a clear answer to this question. Two or three months after the allegations were first aired I still don’t know what, specifically, the Russians are supposed to have done. That’s why Trump’s reaction has largely been “WTF are you on about?” His opponents attacked Flynn who got fired on the spot, probably for bullshitting his management rather than breaking any laws or ethical codes. They’ve had another go against Sessions, with the media spinning like fury to portray the Attorney General as having lied under oath. As Streetwise Professor explains, he did no such thing:
The entire Sessions imbroglio smacks of scumbag lawyer tactics. The Unfunny Clown, Senator Al Franken, asked (in a convoluted way) a very narrow question (which was related to an even narrower written question in a set of interrogatories) about Session’s interactions with the Russians. Sessions answered the question–which was not an unconditional query about contacts with the Russians, but which related to very specific types of contacts and discussions. Franken and the Democrats then accused Sessions of perjury because the Senator (and then-Attorney General designate) had met with the Russian ambassador to the US on two occasions. Asking a narrow question, and then claiming the answer was a false response to a broader question (that was not asked) is a sleazy lawyer trick.
It is a certainty that were there any hard evidence of allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 election and links between Trump and the Russian government they’d have been plastered all over every news channel and newspaper long ago. As things stand they haven’t even been able to get the allegations properly specified. This is why Trump has been able to impudently wave them away, although the daily media storm will certainly be hampering his ability to do his job.
Perhaps Trump thought that if this is the way things were going to carry on in Washington then he’d sling some mud of his own. Perhaps he pulled the allegations of Obama wiretapping him out of his arse, but even if that is true he has at least had the brains to accuse his opponents of something specific and verifiable, rather than woolly concepts such as “influence” and “possible links”.
And despite the lack of evidence, the reactions themselves are telling a story. As SWP notes in the same post:
I will just mention one fact that strongly supports the veracity of Trump’s allegation: namely, the very narrow–and lawyerly–“denials” emanating from the Obama camp.
Obama and his surrogates–notably the slug (or is he a cockroach?) Ben Rhodes–harrumph that Obama could not unilaterally order electronic surveillance. Well, yes, it is the case that Obama did not personally issue the order: the FISA court did so. But even if that is literally correct, it is also true that the FISA court would not unilaterally issue such an order: it would only do so in response to a request from the executive branch. Thus, Obama is clearly implicated even if he did not issue the order. He could have ordered his subordinates to make the request to the court, or could have approved a subordinate’s request to seek an order. Maybe he merely hinted, a la Henry II–“will no one rid me of this turbulent candidate?” (And “turbulent” is a good adjective to apply to Trump.) But regardless, there is no way that such a request to the court in such a fraught and weighty matter would have proceeded without Obama’s acquiescence.
And from the BBC:
FBI director James Comey has rejected Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phone before he was elected US president, US media say.
Mr Comey reportedly asked the US justice department (DOJ) to publicly reject Saturday’s allegation, according to the New York Times and NBC.
He is said to have asked for this because the allegation falsely insinuated that the FBI broke the law.
The DOJ has not commented.
US media quoted officials as saying that Mr Comey believed there was no evidence to support Mr Trump’s allegation.
From an FBI director this is a startling rebuke of a sitting president and Mr Comey will be under pressure from Democrats to voice it publicly, the BBC’s Nick Bryant reports from Washington.
The mainstream media is reporting unnamed “officials” relaying the words of the FBI director which amount to a “startling rebuke” of Trump. If the allegations are untrue, why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff?
Ask yourself, who seems to be responding with the more convincing demeanour: those accused of having “ties” with Russia, or those accused of illegally wiretapping Trump?