On Monday morning, FBI Director James Comey told the nation publicly what he’d already known for the better part of two weeks–there was no evidence to support Donald Trump’s hysterical claim that Trump Tower had been wired during the presidential campaign. But despite this, Trump is still insisting that he was the victim of a “bad or sick” effort to wiretap him.
In a sane world, any talk about Obama ordering Trump to be wiretapped should have ended sometime around 11 am Eastern, when Comey told the House Intelligence Committee in no uncertain terms that he could not substantiate the allegations Trump made in his epic March 4 tweetstorm. Watch here.
Comey told the committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, that his agency had “looked carefully” for any shred of evidence of Trump Tower being wired, and “could find no information that supports those tweets.” He added that the Justice Department couldn’t find anything either. While Comey had only needed a little more than 24 hours to conclude that Trump was blowing smoke, he hadn’t been able to find anyone at the Justice Department to join him in this assessment–until now.
So you now have the FBI, the Justice Department, and both Republican-helmed intelligence committees saying that they can’t find any evidence of wiretapping. You have a number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle effectively telling Trump to put up or shut up about his allegations. In other words, it is now clear beyond reasonable doubt that Trump’s wiretapping allegations are fake news.
But someone must have forgotten to tell Trump. Or at the very least, someone told him and he wasn’t willing to listen. Those are about the only plausible explanations for what happened at Monday’s press briefing. Press Secretary Sean Spicer–or rather, Trump speaking through him–continued to insist that Trump Tower had been wired. Watch here.
When asked if Trump was prepared to retract his claims, Spicer said that a hearing was underway “and it is still ongoing.” He also suggested that there was still more to look into.
“There’s a lot of areas that still need to be covered. There’s a lot of information that still needs to be discussed.”
What information, Sean? From Breitbart, where your boss supposedly got the inspiration to go off two weeks ago? Or from Pastor Frank Amedia, who claimed to have known that the White House itself was wired before the inauguration–but couldn’t be bothered to go public with it, or come to testify about it before Congress?
What’s even more telling is that we shouldn’t have even needed a hearing to find evidence of wiretapping. it would have surfaced long before now. As president, Trump has the power to declassify a smorgasbord of information. He could publicize any evidence to support his allegations with just the stroke of a pen. But he hasn’t. And in the absence of something we haven’t heard or seen, it’s likely because that evidence doesn’t exist. Even by the standards of an administration for whom “alternative facts” are now SOP, this is staggering.
It’s tempting to feel sorry for Spicer. After all, he had to come out and peddle this ridiculous line just hours after his boss was effectively called a baldfaced liar on national television. But then again, this is a guy who found it acceptable to plant a fake news story to discredit a critical reporter. So he neither gets nor deserves any sympathy for helping Trump peddle a story is–let’s say it with feeling this time–FAKE NEWS!
The religious right has insisted that any opposition to Trump is being driven by witchcraft and demons. Hmmm, does this mean that we should expect to see a bunch of people with their hands stretched out toward the J. Edgar Hoover Building? After all, by fundie “logic,” Comey is now officially in league with the devil for daring to call God’s anointed president a liar.
(featured image courtesy Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)