Trump’s Desperate Attempt to Distract Americans From His Scandals Backfires ‘Bigly’

Donald Trump’s Saturday morning Twitter meltdown was flat-out unhinged, but his incompetence may have ultimately done nothing more than screw himself over.



To his supporters, Trump did nothing more than pander to the right-wing paranoia and irrational hatred of Barack Obama that helped him become a superstar among millions of conservatives. For most Americans, even many on the left, the true severity of this rant went unnoticed.

You see, when someone in Trump’s position does something like this, as opposed to a private citizen or even presidential candidate, there are a whole mess of legal issues that become involved.

For starters, a president doesn’t have the power to single-handedly order a wiretap. Meaning that, if Trump or anyone associated with him were monitored, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) would have had to grant a warrant to do so. And the only way the FISA court would have done that is if they found probable cause.

In case you didn’t know, the FISA court was authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to oversee requests for surveillance of spies inside the United States by U.S. intelligence agencies. The Chief Judge appointed to oversee the court is Rosemary Collyer, a United States District Court judge who was appointed by George W. Bush. She was then given her position on the FISA court by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts — who was also picked by Bush and heavily supported by the Republican party.

So, right off the bat Trump’s claim, if true, would indicate that the evidence surrounding these Russian allegations was sound enough that the FISA court found probable cause to approve the surveillance.

In other words, if we’re to take Trump at his word, it’s not Obama who “bugged Trump Tower,” it was U.S. intelligence officials presenting evidence to the FISA court which then approved the monitoring of communication within that building over suspicion that Trump, or members of his campaign, engaged in possible treasonous contact with Russian officials.

Most people have concluded that Trump’s tantrum was triggered by a Breitbart article — which was based off comments made by right-wing conspiracy theorist Mark Levin — claiming there’s a “police state” being secretly run by Obama to create some sort of “coup.”

Again, any wiretapping of Trump Tower would have been granted by the FISA court amid overwhelming evidence of Russian links to Trump or his associates. If Trump wants to continue to claim this is true, then he’s either accusing Barack Obama of a blatant crime that should be investigated immediately, or he’s admitting that the FISA court found enough evidence of Russian ties to approve these supposed wiretaps.



So it’s either one or the other. Either Trump is:

  • Accusing Obama of a major crime and thus should immediately push for a congressional investigation. — or — 
  • Admitting the FISA court awarded U.S. intelligence officials the right to wiretap communication in Trump Tower.

Well, then there’s always the possibility that, because he’s an unhinged moron, he simply read this article in Breitbart, threw another ridiculous hissy fit on Twitter, and he has absolutely no damn idea what he’s talking about. Hell, he compared this to Watergate, proving that he doesn’t even understand what the Nixon-era scandal was about.

But the kicker to this is, Trump’s incompetence has opened the door for a public reveal of the details surrounding why, if true, the FISA court approved any requests to monitor anything related to him or his associates. After all, even if you think Trump’s mentally unstable, he was clearly serious when he made these comments. Considering the office he currently occupies, his words should then immediately require an independent investigation — which means subpoenas — that would ultimately bring practically anything and everything related to this into public light.

Because he has no idea what he’s doing, Trump has screwed himself over in several ways. If you take him at his word, and this is like “Watergate,” then he’s going to have to order extensive independent investigations, along with Congress being involved, into what he claims was a blatant and extremely illegal order by a Barack Obama to have Trump Tower put under surveillance.

However, if he doesn’t do that, then he’s essentially admitting this whole rant was nothing more than pure ignorance, based on his trusting of a fringe, right-wing conspiracy site, and he’s too incompetent to hold the position he currently occupies.

That or he’s aware of the FISA court granting these warrants, he thinks they were illegal and not justified, so he should order all the information contained within them to be made public to “clear his name.” And if any FISA warrants related to investigations into him or his associates do exist, but he doesn’t want to make any of that information public, then he’s more or less admitting that they were credible and he doesn’t want people to know about the information that was used that led to their approval.

The bottom line is, Donald Trump’s stupidity has basically led to one of four main possibilities:

  • He must immediately order an investigation into his accusation that Barack Obama had Trump Tower illegally monitored.
  • If he doesn’t order that investigation, he’s then admitting his rant was based on unfounded right-wing conspiracies he pulled from a blog and he was too ignorant to fact-check anything before making these comments.
  • The FISA court did grant warrants to have his building monitored, he thinks the order was unlawful, and should order the contents of those warrants made public to clear his name and support his story.
  • The FISA warrant(s) were real, but he won’t allow the information to be released publicly because he doesn’t want the American public to know information about investigations into his ties with Russia.

That means the only positive outcome for Trump and Republicans is the extremely unlikely possibility that his accusations against Barack Obama are right. Otherwise, nothing good is going to come of this for Trump or the Republican party.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

Comments

Facebook comments

  • Edward Krebbs

    And IANAL but my understanding is that a large percentage of subpoenas under the FISA court strictly forbid even sharing whether such a subpoena exists or not. (Some libraries joking put up signs saying “Our records have not been subpoenaed. Look for this sign to disappear” in protest of the non-disclosure provisions).

    So wouldn’t that mean that by sharing info on such a wiretap, team Trump committed all sorts of felonies ? (Of course I realize the Nixon quote about if the prez does it, then it is legal. But that is even scarier as it paints a picture of an unhinged prez who goes around sharing priviledged info to salve his thin skin).

  • CA_Reader

    He’s gotten his little fee-fees all hurt because Mr Obama got a rock-star reception when he came out of a building with a cup of coffee in his hand. And Mr Obama didn’t have to make a big deal out of a rally.

    “Unhinged” is a good description of this idiot. If that doesn’t scare the pants off you, nothing will.

    • I profited 104,000 bucks in 2016 by freelancing online a­n­d I manage that by work­ing part-time for several hrs daily. I’m using an earning model I was introduced by this website i found on-line and I am so amazed that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s beginner-friendly a­n­d I’m so blessed that I found out about this. Here is what i do… http://jump.wtf/CCcHHu1

    • I’ve earned $104,000 previous year by doing an online job at home a­n­d I was able to do it by w­o­r­k­i­n­g part time f­o­r 3 or sometimes more h every day. I used a money making model I came across from this website i found online and I am thrilled that I was able to earn so much extra income. It’s very user friendly and I’m just so happy that i discovered this. Here’s what I did… http://libr.ae/RBCM

  • strayaway

    No proof from Trump but, From Chapter 36 of Title 50 of the US Code *War and National Defense”, Subchapter 1, Section 1802;

    “(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—”

    On the point that, “a president doesn’t have the power to single-handedly order a wiretap”, this article was wrong.

    Also, given that someone in the Obama administration tapped the phone of at least one reporter and his parents, the Obama administration used to IRS to stifle conservative organizations, James Clapper lied to Congress under oath and was not punished for doing so, and Snowden claimed that there is widespread phone tapping of regular Americans, it is conceivable that that the Obama administration is guilty. Also, prior to the election Obama made an executive order sharing tapped phone intercepts with other countries allowing foreign countries to collect and pass on information US agencies cannot legally search for on US citizens.

    • Diana Hawkins

      interesting and legal? will look into it

    • TheAmazingAmateurHousekeeper

      Since the law you quoted says ” through the Attorney General, … if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—”, the president still has to have the AG authorize in writing, and therefore does not single-handedly do anything. The rest of your writing is just as well reasoned.

      • strayaway

        You’re correct about presidents not doing anything single-handedly whether its carrying our wars or flying Air Force One.

        Not related but I’ve since come across a figure in a couple of places relevant to the President’s unproven claim. FISA courts are said to have only denied about .03% of wire 35,000 tapping requests (see wikipedia article “United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court”). There are at least 9 judges, not just one judge, and at least six were appointed by Democrats. Obama strengthened Bush’s unconstitutional FISA courts. The wiretap was denied the first time the administration requested it (in June, 2016?). The administration was said to have narrowed its request for a wire tap a day after Bill Clinton perhaps coincidentally bumped into AG Lynch in October. Then I read conflicting reports about whether or not that request was granted. ‘IF’ it was and the results were used against Trump in the campaign, some felonies were committed. Again, that’s an ‘if’. We are going to have to let the drama play out to better understand what went on. I’m thinking that Democrats would do better to things like enact single payer health care in CA and VT than to expend energy on drama but its up to them.

      • strayaway

        You’re correct about presidents not doing anything single-handedly whether its carrying our wars or flying Air Force One.

        Not related but I’ve since come across a figure in a couple of places relevant to the President’s unproven claim. FISA courts are said to have only denied about .03% of wire 35,000 tapping requests (see wikipedia article “United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court”). There are at least 9 judges, not just one judge, and at least six were appointed by Democrats. Obama strengthened Bush’s unconstitutional FISA courts. The wiretap was denied the first time the administration requested it (in June, 2016?). The administration was said to have narrowed its request for a wire tap a day after Bill Clinton perhaps coincidentally bumped into AG Lynch in October. Then I read conflicting reports about whether or not that request was granted. ‘IF’ it was and the results were used against Trump in the campaign, some felonies were committed. Again, that’s an ‘if’. We are going to have to let the drama play out to better understand what went on. I’m thinking that Democrats would do better to things like enact single payer health care in CA and VT than to expend energy on drama but its up to them.

      • TheAmazingAmateurHousekeeper

        I read that the second warrant was approved. Also, after the election I read that in October Obama asked Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to release a joint statement with him re: Trump & Russians so he wouldn’t be seen as using the information to influence the election. They refused, so he said nothing until after. http://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/01/03/obama-avoids-partisanship-gets-accused-of-being-partisan/

      • strayaway

        You’re correct about presidents not doing anything single-handedly whether its carrying our wars or flying Air Force One.

        Not related but I’ve since come across a figure in a couple of places relevant to the President’s unproven claim. FISA courts are said to have only denied about .03% of wire 35,000 tapping requests (see wikipedia article “United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court”). There are at least 9 judges, not just one judge, and at least six were appointed by Democrats. Obama strengthened Bush’s unconstitutional FISA courts. The wiretap was denied the first time the administration requested it (in June, 2016?). The administration was said to have narrowed its request for a wire tap a day after Bill Clinton perhaps coincidentally bumped into AG Lynch in October. Then I read conflicting reports about whether or not that request was granted. ‘IF’ it was and the results were used against Trump in the campaign, some felonies were committed. Again, that’s an ‘if’. We are going to have to let the drama play out to better understand what went on. I’m thinking that Democrats would do better to things like enact single payer health care in CA and VT than to expend energy on drama but its up to them.