President Trump has been known to make false claims on Twitter, for which his critics and the media regularly skewer him. They assume he’s being wild and reckless, as he often is.
But what if sometimes he’s right? What if, as president, he occasionally knows something we don’t know?
Was Trump right all along about being wiretapped?
In March, Donald Trump tweeted: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Most reports focused on the fact that Trump had cited no evidence to back up this charge. CNN ran a story on “Trump’s baseless wiretap claim,” and Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza took it a step further, saying “Donald Trump just flat-out lied about Trump wiretapping,” citing the Justice Department’s’s statement on the claim.
On Monday, CNN published a story many also consider a big deal: “Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman.”
“US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe,” the report read. “The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump.”
We do not know if the government’s surveillance of Manafort included Trump Tower. But we do know Manafort had a residence at Trump Tower. It it is not improbable that some of that government monitoring occurred there, nor is irrational assume that it also included conversations between Manafort and Trump.
We do know officials at the highest levels of the intelligence community “flat-out” lie about mass surveillance practices, as Edward Snowden revealed to the world in 2013. We also know the FISA court where permission is given for surveillance is basically a rubber stamp for virtually any government request. We know the U.S. government cannot be trusted to respect the basic constitutional privacy rights of American citizens.
In any event, Monday’s Manafort report certainly casts new light on Trump’s “destructive, baseless and reckless” tweets in March.
When it comes to his “wire tapped” claims, the president might not be so crazy after all.