The rancor created over one of President Trump’s tweets is pretty amazing. It has gone beyond partisan and has resulted in Congressional inquiry and national debate. And, the overwhelming denials seem to be artful deflection from some truly serious issues. Here is what the President said in a tweet: This short thought, limited to 140 characters by Twitter, has resulted in a massive media explosion, calls for impeachment, an international incident, and a recharged radical effort to destroy the President. Attacks have come from both parties, the media, and the global Intelligence Community (IC). Today, we heard very clearly from the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that there was indeed surveillance of the Trump campaign, although he described it as incidental and legal. Shouldn’t that put the issue to rest so we can move on to fixing real problems? Unfortunately, it hasn’t and that is the real point. This isn’t about facts or truth or even right and wrong. It is a political game designed to take down a President. Rather than delve into all the details, however, perhaps it might be useful to take a step back and consider a number of key observations regarding all of this.
- The President is who he is and he won the election. That means he won a majority of the people voting in a majority of the states and those states collectively had a majority of the Electoral College. This is the same guy who used Twitter so effectively in the campaign. He sometimes said things considered outrageous, especially by his political opponents. So the fact that he makes comments like the tweet shown above should not be at all surprising. He’s now the President and we should want him to believe that surveilling political opponents is wrong.
- People should look at this as a “tweet.” It was not designed to tell the whole story on a subject but act more like a headline. This one says the President is outraged at being under surveillance. “Wire tapped” was in quotes. He wasn’t literally claiming wire tapping as a specific technique because, well, no one really does that any more. It is a euphemism for being monitored.
- The tweet says the President “just found out.” We can’t tell if that means he had a briefing from the IC telling him that or saw a news report he heard. The way things have played out, it appears to have been a news report but was perhaps conveyed to the President from a source he trusted. Either way, President Trump was in campaign mode and wanted to make a point to the American people. And, it is a point that needs to be made as we do not want our Intelligence Community being used for political purposes (which is what he meant by McCarthyism).
- The President’s view that he was surveilled is actually pretty reasonable according to Pete Hoekstra, former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Since we have been told there was an investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia, the idea that there was no surveillance is ludicrous. Whether it makes sense for the President to tweet that or not is a different question. But the sentiment is basically true. Representative Peter King (on the House Intelligence Committee) basically agrees and perhaps goes further when appearing on O’Reilly.
- The controversy was worsened with Judge Napolitano’s report that British Intelligence may have been asked to do surveillance on candidate Trump because President Obama did not want the evidence trail to lead back to him. The British have outright denied that this happened. It appears that Judge Napolitano’s sources are less than credible. My sources tell me that the British absolutely would not go along with such a plan and that the British paper trail would have been even more obvious had they tried. This is not to say that President Obama would be above trying to get the Brits to do his dirty work. But it is saying that the Brits would be unlikely to oblige him.
- The “outrage” of the media, politicians, and the IC is ridiculous and incredibly phony. They have created the climate in which the American people no longer trust their government. The President’s assertion seems all too credible in this day and age. Let’s be honest. Wikileaks showed that the Obama team did monitor Angela Merkel’s phones even while we denied it. The Director of National Intelligence did deny that Americans were being surveilled all the while knowing differently. Worse still, he lied to Congress about it. And, the UN Ambassador Susan Rice repeatedly claimed that the Benghazi attack was caused by a YouTube video even as internal emails prove the Administration knew differently. All of that happened in the last Administration, never mind the frantic Bill Clinton denials and subsequent perjury. The Clinton campaign, the Democrat National Committee and the media did collude to swing the election in favor of Hillary Clinton. These things are undeniable. The public has lost confidence in politicians, the media, and the Intelligence Community. It is also obvious that the media jumps all over one side (“Bush and the CIA lied about WMD in Iraq”) while defending the other (“how dare Trump question Obama and the Intelligence Community”).
- It is extremely glaring that no one seems interested in the illegal release of classified information used to force out General Flynn. We know a few things from this. First, members of the Trump campaign were under surveillance. The Flynn issue proves it. The media made a strong point that Flynn was part of the campaign when it was useful to their case. But they can’t then deny that the Trump campaign was being monitored. Worse still is that fact that the monitoring was selectively leaked for political purposes. The IC can’t claim that the capture of Flynn’s conversations were unintentional because they were preserved and then used for political purposes. What is abundantly clear is that the IC sent a warning shot to Trump and anyone who might oppose them. We have the goods on you and will use them when we need to do so. That should seriously concern every American regardless of political affiliation. Take a look at this exchange between Representative Trey Gowdy and FBI Director James Comey (shared from CNBC). It should be crystal clear that someone broke the law to unmask General Flynn for political purposes. The problem was exacerbated by the Obama administration when, just days before handing over the White House, the Obama team made extraordinary efforts to spread raw data and rushed analyses across the government with the lowest level classification possible. This opened the door for political appointees with low-level clearances to grab and run with the information, something far different from the typically tightly controlled intelligence process. It also put Americans at risk.
- The media suggested that the Trump campaign was being looked at when the election was underway. Now, they are trying to deny it. If Obama wasn’t trying to surveil Trump during the campaign, why did they seek FISA warrants to do so? Or was that a complete fabrication designed to malign Trump? The media can’t play “holier than thou” on this one. I suspect that they will pivot to the notion that there was surveillance but it was done with the purest of motives to catch Russian interference.
- The fact is that some in the Intelligence Community were looking for any incidental connection between Russia and the Trump campaign with the plan to selectively release information and smear the candidate/President. They conveniently ignore the very clear connections between the Clinton campaign and Russia. Representative Louie Gohmert has made this point very effectively. The experts I spoke with deep inside the IC acknowledged that there is more evidence of Clinton’s Russia connections through the years than there is for Trump.
- Finally, why is everyone focused on this Tweet that generally seems to be true but ignoring a very serious breach of the Intelligence Community and Congress by five massively paid House IT staffers from Pakistan? This is where the focus should be. It is also something we will explore in greater detail as more facts emerge.
Here is the bottom line. President Trump issued a tweet because he was upset in learning his campaign was under surveillance by the Obama-led Executive Branch (including the Intelligence Community). The media, politicians, and IC took that as an opportunity to try to undermine him. The basic facts support the President on this one in a very general sense, as inconvenient as that may be. The protests are entirely disingenuous given that politicians, the media, and the IC have all been caught red-handed in their lies and duplicity. There is a deeper point that must be made, however. The attack on General Flynn and subsequent coverup of the illegalities involved is a warning shot. The crystal clear message: “We have stuff on you and will use it when it suits our purposes.” The IC is not under control of the President. It is a powerful force with enough independence to take on the President. That is the real problem. Watch this clip very carefully:
As we have said, the Intelligence Community must be depoliticized and it must be done immediately. Why do we share this? Because the Intelligence Community has a very direct role to play in the global economic war. We need to make certain they are on our side.