It’s easy to charge someone with a crime. As easy as opening one’s mouth and speaking. Doesn’t take much effort. If saying it were all it took to convict someone of a crime, most of us would probably be sitting in jail right now– because we’ve all had occasion to tick somebody off at some point or another in time.
But in America we start from a different premise: a charge is meritless unless a factual basis for the thing charged is seen. In other words, we require some evidence to support the naked allegation.
President Trump was, to my way of thinking, attempting to divert attention away from the “Russian discussions” he and his administration team members were said to have had before the election, when he decided to charge President Obama with wiretapping Trump Tower. If you saw his tweet, however, you’ll notice that he said “Nothing Found.” And I guess that was supposed to close the book.
It didn’t. And it won’t.
What it did do was make it even more important to find the factual basis for the thing charged.
If nothing was found, that must mean the existence of the wiretap had to have been told to him. Since nothing was found, the only way he would have been looking for a wiretap or brought to the conclusion that there had been a wiretap was if someone actually told him that. So the question is: who told him about the wiretap?
Okay, so we all know there was no wiretap, but hey, he made the charge. And it’s a vey serious charge. He accused a sitting president of breaking federal law. So, who told him President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower?
Pressing this question will cause Mr. Trump to either throw somebody under the proverbial bus or admit that he has no source and that he made the whole thing up.
Trump went too far this time. Instead of taking the public’s attention away from the Russian discussions, all he’s done is given us two things to demand be investigated. It’s becoming clearer every day– even to Trump rank-and-file, that Trump on his own is the loosest canon around. Expect mid-term elections in 2018 to produce a Democratic majority capable of keeping him somewhat in check.
UPDATE: MSN.com reports that President Trump got his information about the alleged wiretap from a Breitbart News story quoting the conservative radio host and author Mark Levin. Levin says he drew his conclusion from a January 19 article in the New York Times which said in part:
“American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, . . .”
Levin assumes that those communications were “intercepted” by a U.S. wiretap, when it makes just as much– if not more– sense that the U.S. spy apparatus was monitoring the Russians (as they do), not the Trumps. After all, if the Russians were talking to anyone, why assume that Trump Tower would be the place?
Investigations into both the Russian discussions and this wiretap business are necessary. Both, in my opinion, require the appointment of impartial special prosecutors.