In the midst of all the controversy surrounding President Trump’s Tweet that the Obama Administration spied and wiretapped Trump Tower, Congress is preparing to inspect evidence that may show that organizations such as the National Security Agency did spy on Trump. The NSA is expected to produce documents that may show a “smoking gun” pointing at surveillance of Trump under the guise of legitimate monitoring of foreign targets.
Obama Administration Spied On Trump
Attorneys and congressional investigators are expected to have a handle on these extensive documents by some point next week. House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has spearheaded the effort to collect and organize evidence pointing at Obama’s efforts to collect communications that were sent and received by Trump and members of his presidential campaign. Some of the information is classified, so Nunes was deliberately vague about their contents when talking to reporters.
“What I’ve read bothers me,” he said, “and I think it should bother the president himself, and his team because I think some of it seems to be inappropriate.”
The CIA has also indicated a willingness to cooperate with the investigation, but the FBI has remained unresponsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents. It’s notable that the current FBI director, James Comey, is a holdover from the Obama administration who may have ties with the Clintons through government contractors that supported the Clinton campaign and made donations to the Clinton Foundation. Despite the FBI’s reluctance to turn over documents, Comey has testified under oath before the Intelligence Committee regarding both the wiretapping accusations and ongoing investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to the Russians.
Conservative commentators have accused him of lying under oath at least three times by denying that the FBI used wiretapping in an attempt to connect the dots between Trump and the Russians. Comey’s denials have been contradicted by New York Times headlines. If true, commentators say that this could be grounds for impeachment proceedings although they do note that impeachment would only be the first step in removing Comey from his position as FBI director So it may be no surprise that the FBI is being slow to respond to requests from the House Intelligence Committee.
The House Intelligence Committee investigation had previously been an open one, but has now been closed to the frustration of House Democrats, likely due to the classified nature of some of the documents involved. Some of these documents name individuals who may have either been involved in the wiretapping operation, or may have been targeted by an improper wiretap. Mr. Nunes said in response to a question regarding individuals mentioned in a recent press report, “We are not going to get into a neo-McCarthyism here,” referring to a period in the 1950s when careers could be ruined and people subjected to unwarranted investigations and illegal wiretapping on the merest suspicion that they were Communist sympathizers.
If the Obama Administration did uncover evidence that President Trump conspired with the Russians to rig the elections, it failed to convincingly reveal that evidence in time to make much of a difference. As this Fox News article mentioned, some of the wiretapping-related documents are classified, but that wouldn’t have stopped any incriminating information from being revealed to the press in a conveniently timed leak. However, the central issue in this case is not whether the Obama Administration found any evidence that officials in the Trump campaign had anything other than completely open meetings with the Russians. The issue is whether organizations like the NSA and FBI might have violated the Fourth Amendment rights of officials in the Trump campaign by illegally wiretapping private property. Representative Nunes characterizes the surveillance outlined in the documents that the Intelligence Committee received as being, at best, “legal but troubling.”
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