No evidence — surprise! — that Obama tapped Trump
FBI Director James Comey speaks during the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
The man the Democrats wanted hanged for derailing their chance at the Oval Office, FBI Director James Comey, testified before the House intelligence committee Monday to flatly deny there was any evidence to back Donald Trump’s bombshell accusation that the Obama administration had illegally spied on his campaign.
This was not unexpected, of course.
No one, other than perhaps Donald Trump himself, or his paid surrogates and online sock puppets, fully believed Trump’s accusations — delivered through incendiary tweets — that former President Barack Obama had “tapped” his phones.
One tweet, tossed out at 7:04 a.m. on March 4, read, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phone during very sacred election process? This is Nixon-Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Not that it matters now.
Trump is in the White House and Hillary Clinton, despite winning the popular vote that matters nothing in an Electoral College system, has since had fewer public appearances than Punxsutawney Phil.
And it’s all thanks, in part, to James Comey.
It was Comey, after all, who used the 11th hour of the 2016 presidential election to tell Congress he had re-opened his bureau’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, including the massive WikiLeaks dump of electronic correspondence between key Democrats involved in the Clinton campaign.
Comey’s reason to Congress at the time was that he wanted to avoid accusations of a coverup, should more information get leaked, but Democrats saw it as a deliberate act of sabotage of their candidate’s chances by the country’s top law enforcer.
By the time Comey announced no charges would be laid against Clinton, the damage was done and Clinton’s seven-point advantage did its mandatory circling of the bowl before being flushed away.
And up floated Trump.
Monday’s grilling by the intelligence committee of Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers was focused primarily on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and whether there was any collusion between Trump operatives and Russian officials.
The intelligence committee’s chair, Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, opened the hearing by condemning Russia’s cyber and military aggressiveness.
“Our inability to predict the Putin regime’s plans and intentions,” said Nunes, “is the biggest intelligence failure since 9/11.”
He also said his committee, as well as a similar committee in the Senate, was determined to identify and prosecute any current and/or former U.S. officials — he said they were “numerous” — who had leaked potentially classified information to the media.
Right from the get-go, Comey confirmed the FBI was conducting an ongoing investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion, but refused to give details, or any hints as to where it was leading, because the probe was far from complete.
He did admit, however, that U.S. intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded that Russia did attempt to influence the election campaign — with or without the assist of Trump operatives — because of its preference to see Trump elected over Clinton.
Comey said was only commenting now, with the Justice Department's permission, because of the extreme public interest in the case.
What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
Trump, however, couldn’t sit back and let it play out without jumping onto his Twitter account.
Some 14 minutes into the hearing, he tweeted, “What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?”
If nothing else, he was staying true to form.