President Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election. Trump tweeted on March 4, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
On March 13, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer recanted Trump’s tweet saying that Trump was not referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping. Spicer claimed that “the president used the words wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”
Along with Spicer, people are trying to decipher what Trump meant when he said: “wires tapped.” Spicer said that Trump used this term as a general term for surveillance, but others aren’t so sure.
Merriam-Webster defines the word wiretap as tapping a telephone or telegraph wire to get information. Despite this definition, Spicer states that Trump was not making accusations about Obama illegally tapping into Trump Tower’s phone lines, but that there may have been another way that Obama surveilled Trump in one way or another to get information from his campaign.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” said Spicer during a press conference on March 13.
Essentially, Trump is accusing a former president of a felony. One would think, when this happens, a president would have some sort of evidence to back up his claims. In this case, Trump has not provided any evidence to the Justice Department as they have recently requested, and has been reluctant to do so.
With these allegations, the Justice Department created a deadline for Trump’s administration to provide evidence to the House Intelligence Committee to back up Trump’s claim. The White House has not provided any evidence thus far, and has refused to do so at this moment.
Senator John McCain is among several people who have asked for some sort of tangible proof of Trump’s claim saying, “I think the president has one of two choices: either retract or provide the information that the American people deserve, because, if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we have got a serious issue here, to say the least.”
This recent eruption in Trump’s administration is not out of the ordinary for Trump. This one, however, is special in the fact that he made felony-level accusations towards another president.
Liberals claim that these allegations are a way for Trump to take the Justice Department’s focus off of the investigations regarding the possibility that Russia influenced last year’s presidential election, and turn their attention over to Obama’s possible wiretapping.
So, does Obama have any sort of response to any of the allegations? Kevin Lewis, Obama’s spokesperson, said “Neither Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.” Obama has denied any wrongdoing and claims that they never took the time to scrutinize any U.S. Citizen to surveillance.
Looking forward, citizens will have to wait on whether or not Trump’s administration will provide any evidence that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower’s phone to the Justice Department.