When 70-year-old President Donald Trump tweeted March 5 that former President Barack Obama had his “wires tapped” the mainstream media went for the jugular, demanding he produce proof. For months since winning the election Nov. 8, the media has run with former Hillary campaign chairman John D. Podesta’s narrative that Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to win him the election. No one in the media—or any other place—has provided any evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russians. Yet, when it comes to Trump’s claims of wiretapping, the media demands immediate proof. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) insisted today that he’s seen no proof of Trump’s wiretapping charges but can’t get 56-year-old FBI James Comey to testify categorically that he has no proof of surveillance on Trump.
Schiff very carefully denounces Trump’s claims, insisting Trump said Obama personally wiretapped his offices at Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Trump never said, in any statement, tweet or correspondence, that Obama personally ordered his wiretapping. What Trump said, to be specific, was the Obama “had his wires tapped,” suggesting that political operatives working for the Hillary campaign collaborated with intel agencies to monitor Trump’s conversations. Schiff’s insistence that Trump blamed Obama directly is factually incorrect. Frustrated with the whole mess, 61-year-old Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened today to get a subpoena. “If it’s not true, just tell me it’s not true,” Graham told NBC’s “Today Show,” asking FBI Director James Comey to put-up-or-shut-up. Graham believes Comey’s privy to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] Court warrants.
No matter how secretive, Graham wants the FBI, Justice Department or any other intel agency to produce the paper trail needed to see whether or not someone in the Obama administration sought electronic surveillance of the Trump campaign. Saying there’s “no evidence” doesn’t mean there’s not plenty of respected reporting on the subject. “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides,” read the front-page headline from the New York Times Jan. 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration. When demanding proof from Trump, Schiff never cites the New York Times, going to great lengths to prove Trump was wiretapped. “The FBI is leading in the investigation, aided by the National Security Agency, the CIA and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Unit,” wrote the New York Times, citing an unnamed source that the White House provided the intel reports.
Schiff finds New York Times reports of spying on the Trump campaign as not evidence, insisting Trump must provide direct evidence. “Why is it taking so long to get the answer?” asked Graham, referring to what the FBI knows, and, at the very least, provided to the Jan. 19 story to the New York Times. Graham can’t figure out why, if Comey knows the answer regarding any FISA court warrants, he won’t turn it cover to the House Intelligence Committee. Comey demanded March 5 that Trump retract any charge that the FBI did anything illegal with respect to suspected wiretapping. Comey never denied that he obtained a FISA Court warrant to investigate charges that Trump colluded with Russia to win the Nov. 8, 2016 election. Graham can’t understand why Comey has taken so long to get the House Intel Committee the FISA court record to verify or dispute Trump’s claims.
Expected to testify March 20 before the House Intel Committee, Comey has a lot of explaining to do why he won’t deliver the FISA Court paperwork to Congress. Delaying the release of FISA paperwork lends credibility to Trump’s charge that some type of intel surveillance occurred between the his election and the Jan. 20 inauguration. With Schiff nitpicking about whether Trump said Obama “ordered” the wiretapping or simply “had his wires tapped,” there’s growing evidence that the intel community was after something. Graham insists that “Russia is trying to break the back of democracy all over the world,” citing FBI and CIA conclusions that Putin interfered with the 2016 election. Calling Putin’s Russia a dictatorship, Graham fingers the Kremlin for interfering with Democracies around the planet. He offers no proof other than disparaging comments about Putin.
Unable to get the FISA Court paperwork on Trump, Graham scratched his head trying to figure out whether Putin interfered with the 2016 election. Telling the press today that he’s seen no evidence of Trump’s Russian collusion in the 2016 election, Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), wants more proof of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. “They’re trying to destroy NATO, the European Union, allegiances that have kept the world a safe place, and Russia’s an autocratic dictatorship that kills everying they don’t like when it comes to scrutinizing Putin . . . “ said Graham, worried that Putin’s been too aggressive interfering with the 2016 U.S. election. Whatever proof the press demands of Trump regarding his Russian ties, they need to be equally vigilant asking the FBI for evidence of wiretapping. Neither side can take too much more wild speculation.