Then President Obama meets with President-elect Trump in preparation for transition.
By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire) – FBI Director James B. Comey has essentially confirmed what Democrats, Republicans and much of the general public already knew. That is that President Donald B. Trump lied on former President Barack Obama when he claimed, in a March 4 tweet, that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during Trump’s campaign for the presidency.
“With respect to the president’s tweets, I have no information that supports those tweets…We have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey testified during a House Intelligence Committee Monday.
Comey said the U. S. Department of Justice, headed by Trump appointee Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asked him to state that the Justice Department also knows nothing of any such wiretaps.
In four consecutive tweets on March 4, Trump falsely accused former President Obama of the wiretapping:
The first tweet at 6:35 am: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
The second tweet at 6:49 am: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”
The third tweet at 6:52 am: “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
The third tweet at 7:02 am: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
The false statements are not unusual for Trump – especially when it comes to President Obama. For nearly his entire presidency, Trump falsely claimed he was not born in the U. S. Even after Obama presented his birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii, Trump still persisted. In other untruths, Trump also claimed to have seen thousands of Muslims celebrating the terrorist attacks on Sept. l1, 2001; and he claimed that millions of people voted illegally in the 2017 presidential election.
But the latest accusation against Obama was particularly egregious because Trump – with no clear reason – falsely accused his predecessor of a high crime. It was also odd given that Obama and Trump appeared to have gotten along so well during the transition period with Trump calling Obama a “very good man”.
Obama immediately responded to the false accusation through a statement from his spokesman Kevin Lewis.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Lewis said in a statement. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen…Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Civil rights leaders have been oddly silent on the Trump accusation against Obama. It will likely be brought up as members of the Congressional Black Caucus meets with the president March 22. But Republicans, interviewed by CNN leading up to Comey’s statement, said Trump clearly owes Obama an apology.
“I would retract the words if I were in his shoes. I think he should retract those words. To me I would apologize. I think it would be appropriate to do so,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.)
“It never hurts to say you’re sorry. I think that goes for this situation,” says Rep. Bill Hurd (R-Texas).
“Unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think President Obama is owed an apology in that regard,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
But the Trump administration says it will not apologize. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday that the President will not apologize. He said, “This is still ongoing.”