The last two days have been bad for the Trump administration’s political tactics team. Last night, a judge in Hawaii blocked a controversial travel ban intended to keep the citizens of six Muslim-majority countries out of the United States. Today, evidence has begun mounting against one of the president’s more outlandish claims – that Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower in New York City.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told CNN that he hadn’t seen any proof of surveillance against the Republican then-candidate.
“We have not seen any evidence that there was a wiretap or a (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court order against Trump Tower or somebody in Trump Tower,” Ryan said in an interview with the news network.
Nevertheless, he reaffirmed his trust in Donald Trump, saying that he didn’t think the “wiretap” Tweets would damage the White House’s credibility at home or abroad.
“I think the President’s going to be judged and marked by his record,” Rep. Ryan said, suggesting that the allegations against the last administration would be overshadowed by future accomplishments.
Paul Ryan was joined by the Senate Intel Committee in coming public about the baselessness of Trump’s claims.
The Intelligence Committee Chairman, Richard Burr, issued a statement alongside ranking member Mark Warner, saying “based on the information available to us, we see no indications Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”
Barack Obama, for his part, has bit his tongue and remained largely silent about his alleged role in ordering a wiretap against the wily Republican. The former president’s team has been very dismissive of Washington, saying Trump’s Tweets and live media remarks were entirely “false.”
In what seems to be an effort to backtrack, Donald Trump gave a long and bumbling explanation in a Wednesday interview with FOX News. His suspicions were apparently based on an article run in January by The New York Times – a publication the President has been highly critical of.
“Not that I respect The New York Times,” Trump said. “I call it the failing New York Times. But they did write on January 20 using the word wiretap.”
The President refused to give any explanation but said that “a lot” of evidence and “some very interesting items are coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
What “a lot of evidence” and “very interesting items” entails was left vague.
Devin Nunes, chairman of the Republican congressional committee, must not have been clued in.
“As I told you last week, in regard to the president talking about tapping Trump Tower. That evidence still remains the same,” Nunes said. “We don’t have any evidence that took place.
Trump, to his credit, stands by the original Tweet. He has said that “wiretap” doesn’t just mean “wiretap” – it can, in fact, refer to any other number of surveillance actions which nobody in the Senate or House believes took place.
The President ended his Wednesday interview with FOX on a bitter note, complaining about how he, leader of the free world and “one of the most successful reality shows of all time,” is being handed yet another short stick by the “fake press.”