Did you wake up this morning with inexplicable motion sickness? Don't worry, you didn't sleep through an earthquake--that was just President Trump once again shaking the foundations of our democracy via Twitter.
From 3:26am to 4:02am PST, Trump let loose the following tweet storm:
The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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
So what does this mean?
In apparent reference to a Breitbart article released on Friday night, Trump is accusing the Obama administration of tapping his lines during the presidential election. The Breitbart article claims that the Obama administration submitted a FISA (i.e. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) request to monitor a single computer server in Trump tower for evidence of links to Russian banks and that they continued wiretapping even after the initial probe unearthed no such evidence.
Is it true?
Well... yes and no. Okay, let's make that "not really and no".
First of all, let's get one thing straight: there is no evidence whatsoever indicating that any federal government agencies wiretapped Trump's operations.
However, the FBI did submit a FISA request in October. Reports aren't conclusive on whether or not it was approved, but if it was, well, that's especially bad news for Trump. Unlike regular wiretapping warrants, which require probable cause that the suspect committed a crime, approval of a FISA request depends upon probable cause that the suspect be the agent of a foreign power. In other words, if FISA did approve the request, that means there was already substantial evidence indicating that Trump was colluding with Russia.
Either way, Obama wouldn't have had anything to do with it: per a statement issued by the former president's spokesman Kevin Lewis, "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."
Fortunately, it seems President Trump didn't let the matter bother him for too long. Just an hour after firing off those accusations, Trump posted the following tweet:
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017