On Saturday morning, President Trump tweeted an accusation that Obama ordered phones in Trump Tower to be wiretapped during the presidential campaign last fall.
Trump is accusing Obama of basically ordering people to “break in” the phone lines in and around Trump Tower and spy on phone communications. Trump said Obama was a bad or sick guy to do this and said it was illegal.
First — is wiretapping legal? Law enforcement can wiretap if they have a valid court order/search warrant or if one party on the phone call consents to it, if it is a criminal investigation.
Our intelligence agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA) can also wiretap phones if it is related with foregin countries — to protect the country. This requires the approval of a secret FISA (Foregin Intelligence Surveillance Court) court. But U.S. law says it is illegal for the President to personally order a wiretap.
So, did Obama order a wiretap of Trump’s phones in Trump Tower because there was an ongoing investigation of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign team?
Trump thinks so. He said he’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case that Obama was tapping his phones in October, before the Election. It seems like Trump got the idea from media companies that quoted several European media companies who reported without naming sources that the FBI wanted to get warrants to look into Trump’s computer server/tap into phones because of suspicions of their connections with Russia.
Of course, this has brought immediate controversy. Many have asked the White House on where the evidence is, but none has been given — instead they have called on Congress to investigate this.
Obama’s spokesperson said it was not true — that neither Obama or any White House staff ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.
Several media sources reported that the FBI Director James Comey asked the Dept. of Justice to publicly reject President Trump’s accusation of Obama, but the DOJ has not commented so far.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told media yesterday that there was no wiretap activity against Trump as a presidential campaigner or as a president-elect, that there was no court order to surveil the Trump Tower.
Trump has put this incredible claim out there, now it’s up to the White House to follow up on it. We’ll see what happens — on if there will be a serious investigation into this, or if it will go nowhere like Trump’s previous claim that he lost the popular vote by 3-5 million illegal votes. He did want an investigation but so far, nothing has happened.