“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the 70-year-old real estate mogul tweeted early in the morning, referring to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s adamant hunt to out alleged Communists in the U.S. using scare tactics during the late 40s and early 50s.
“Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone,” Trump continued. “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Of note, Breitbart posted an article just one day prior that claimed the Obama administration made two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests in 2016 to monitor Trump’s communications from Trump Tower, with a focus on any possible ties to Russian banks. According to the article, no evidence was found, and Trump offered no proof to back up his Twitter allegations.
In a statement to Us, President Obama's spokesperson Kevin Lewis said, "A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
Meanwhile, NYC Media Lab executive director Justin Hendrix pointed out via Twitter that the allegations of wiretaps are not new news — it was in fact reported as far back as last November. Additionally, any wiretapping done under the provision of a FISA request is not illegal because it has been approved.
“Back to Donald,” Hendrix tweeted as part of a lengthy Twitter breakdown of the situation. “Wiretapping him was not illegal, full stop. And it suggests the court had reason to permit it. Donald’s tweets this morning are a helpful reminder that he was under investigation, possibly for espionage.”
A FISA wiretap is different than a traditional wiretap, which requires evidence pointing to a probably future crime. In the instance of a FISA wiretap, no evidence of a crime is necessary, only evidence that the target of a wiretap is an agent of a foreign power.
Trump and members of his administration have come under fire this past week for having ties to Russia that may have affected the outcome of the November 8 presidential elections, though the former Apprentice host has denied any relationship with Russia, accusing the media of carrying out a “total witch hunt” in a statement issued on Thursday, March 2.
“The Democrats are overplaying their hand,” he said in a reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ voluntary recusal from investigations into the 2016 elections. “They lost the election and now they have lost their grip on reality.”
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