It would be nice to think that after the dust finally settles over the most extraordinary presidential election in memory, we would have an accurate set of facts on which to base an opinion of what happened. We’re not talking so much about the reasons that Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. That’s getting more obvious as time passes.
No, the debate is not about why Trump won and Clinton lost, it’s about all of these suggestions of illegal surveillance, foreign interference, and releases of private or classified documents. One thing is clear that should have been obvious well before this election. We are in a highly connected, digital age where things like tweets and computer email servers can have major impacts on our government, work, and our personal lives.
The answer to one question was painfully extracted from the recent testimony before Congress by FBI Director James Comey. We say painfully, because even after a day’s questioning, it does not appear that some very simple questions were actually answered.
Let’s take one pressing question: did Mr. Obama wiretap Donald Trump’s phones during the campaign? The answer one would arrive at is “yes,” but in typical D.C. form, you cannot arrive at that conclusion directly. As the American Spectator puts it, “Out of it [Comey’s testimony] came two clashing headlines: ‘Comey Denies Obama Ordered Wiretapping on Trump,’ ‘The FBI is Investigating Trump’s Links to Russia.'”
The point to be made here is that for some reason, the FBI engaged in surveillance of the Trump campaign, and must have done so on the orders of then President Obama or someone answerable to him. So in that sense Mr. Obama did investigate the Trump campaign.
Again, from the Spectator, “[i]n other words, the core claim underlying Trump’s tweets is true: people acting on the authority of Obama opened an investigation into Trump’s campaign, then criminally leaked mention of it to friendly news outlets in an attempt to derail his election. When is Obama going to apologize for that?”
It should be troublesome to any American that a sitting president can order, authorize, permit, encourage, direct – or however you want to put it – an investigation into the campaign of a potential successor. And it’s especially disturbing when any information gained, even if innocuous, could be turned over the campaign of the candidate the president favors. Only the most naive would believe this cannot happen.
Why was this not pursued more aggressively in the hearings? At this point we get into the politics of the matter, and the need for some Republicans to grow or discover a backbone and stick up for their president. “According to Circa News, the FBI used ‘traditional investigative methods’ to probe Trump’s computer server. Why didn’t any of the Republicans ask Comey if his agents ever saw Trump’s communications in the course of that investigation? Again, Comey would have refused to answer, but at least his non-answer would have gotten people thinking about the abusive character of an open-ended investigation of a candidate’s campaign during an election season.”
It is time for the Republicans in Congress to reflect on how fortunate they are that they are working with a President Donald Trump and not a President Hillary Clinton. (It’s painful even to join those last three words together.) This does not mean bowing down before the president, and it does imply there will be differences to be worked out. But it also requires they recognize they are on the same team.
After all, they now have a real leader in President Trump. He deserves no less.
Source: The American Spectator