By Eddie Celaya
Donald Trump is back at it with the spying. Kellyanne Conway is worried about your microwaves Go-Go-Gadgeting into G-men. And all the while, Vladimir Putin has done a decent job infiltrating and running the country.
Let’s recap the month. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned for lying about meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any Trump- Russia investigations because he did the exact same thing.
The two men join the list of Trump surrogates with confirmed ties to Russia, beginning with former campaign manager Paul Manafort. He’s been in the news lately due to documents released in the Ukraine revealing his dealings with Putin’s Russia.
And there’s Rex Tillerson, the nation’s reluctant secretary of state. Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, hasn’t done anything wrong (yet) but is one of just a few Americans to hold the Russian Order of Friendship. Yes, that’s a real award.
Oh, and I meant reluctant. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” he told the Independent Journal Review in an interview. “I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids.”
With each layer being slowly peeled back, the American public was getting close to the center of this political Russian Matryoshka doll. Then Trump seemingly went off the deep end.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted at 6:30 a.m. on March 4 from Mar-a-Lago, Florida. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
The tweet was a bombshell of an allegation. A sitting president accusing his predecessor of wire-tapping is indeed Nixonian.
Reactions from both sides were swift and predictable. Democrats and their allies gave the old “there you go again” head shake you give to a puppy who won’t stop pissing on the couch.
After all, Trump disobeyed the first law of high school English teachers: thou shall always cite your source.
Forget that he misspelled “tap.” Trump accolytes and apologists either took The Donald’s assertion as The Word handed down from on high, or pointed to a March 3 Breitbart article that seemed to be the genesis for Trump’s claim.
The article, which may require visiting Breitbart without being within a five-minute drive of a shower, is basically a lazy timeline linking to actual reporting done by credible news organizations.
It is easily the best piece of writing I’ve come across on Breitbart.
The most interesting link redirects to an article by former British politician Louise Mensch on her website HeatStreet.
Citing two unnamed sources, Mensch claims that on two separate occasions, the FBI requested a warrant be issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to “examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
Note that the warrant does not focus on Trump, but “U.S. persons” within his campaign. Note also it is not technically a “wire-tap,” but instead permission to electronically track and survey activity on a server.
Of course, if you haven’t been living under a rock lately, FBI Director James Comey put all speculation of any of the U.S. intelligence agencies spying on Trump Tower to rest on March 20 during his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey said.
Would that stop Trump? Hell na. Here is what he live-tweeted as Comey was testifying to the existence of an FBI probe into links between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign:
“James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”
Clapper was the former national intelligence director under Obama.
Trump was referencing Clapper’s appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd a few months ago in which he suggests that there were no known personal contacts between Trump and the Russian government.
Not Trump associates mind you, Trump himself.
Clapper made one other important distinction. He had not seen any evidence in his time as director. However, he left his position in January. “I could not account for intelligence or evidence that may have been gathered since the inauguration on Jan. 20,” he said.
Is Trump’s tweet just a sloppy attempt to deflect attention from the Comey testimony?
Or does he really believe Obama has implemented a “deep-state shadow government” that is so entrenched in the everyday works of government that they make it impossible for Trump to govern?
Who knows anymore?
I’m beginning to doubt Trump cares if he is impeached. He acts like a kid on chemo living on borrowed time. But instead of doing Make-A-Wish and going to Disneyland, he’s decided to rob every 7-11 in town.
You almost forget that Trump should be preparing for mid-season sweeps and firing Nick Cannon, not presiding over a cabinet of creeps led by Steve Bannon. Sad.