Cat Meet Pigeons

smoking-gunTrump has been tweeting again and this time he’s dropped the bomb on the Obama Administration’s alleged tapping of the Trump campaign.

Assorted Obama spokespeople have said that Obama himself did not order the wiretaps. Which many have taken as tacit confirmation that there were wiretaps but that the big O did not actually put them in place.

There is a bit of business about two separate applications to the FISA Court which grants wiretap authorizations for surveillance of agents of foreign states – but not Americans. And the wonderfully oily James Clapper told “Meet the Press”:

“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Asked whether he could confirm or deny whether the FBI could have tapped Trump’s phones under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Clapper was unequivocal.
“I can deny it,” he said. “There is no FISA court order, not to my knowledge, of anything at Trump Tower.” CNN
That this activity was reported some time ago in the NYT is largely dismissed as the Times apparently relied on a report at Heat Street where the very excitable Louise Mensch reported that the FBI had been granted a FISA warrant.
Clapper has a bit of form as being willing to lie under oath but I can’t see any reason why he would lie in these circumstances when it is pretty much inevitable that a FISA application will or will not have been made and decided. There is a record and that record will come out.
At the same time, there is no reason to believe that Trump is not in possession of some evidence that his campaign was tapped. Otherwise, why make the allegation? (And, for sake of argument, let’s put aside the idea that the human Cheeto is simply a deranged lunatic liable to tweet anything.)
The  “Trump ties to Russia” story keeps surfacing as various members of the “intelligence community” leak material to MSM. There does not seem to be much there but what there is can be amped up and puts the Trump Administration on the defensive.  From his tweets and other statements, it is pretty clear Trump is, like many Presidents before him, annoyed with the leaks.
Unlike many Presidents whose response to leaks usually involves some sort of internal investigation, Trump seems willing to try and get to the source of the leaks. He has called for, and is apparently getting, a full scale Congressional investigation of his allegations within the context of an overall investigation of the “Russian influence” on the election.
One read of this is that Trump wants to put the Russian connection allegations on ice for a while and kicking the whole thing over to Congress might have that effect. It is a plausible explanation but it seems somehow inefficient. Very little reward for a significant risk.
My own sense is that Trump has, or thinks he has, a smoking gun. Something which will tie Obama and his administration to illegal activity. If there was a FISA application there would have to be affidavits in support of that application. There would have to be disclosure of the sources and methods whereby the DOJ (the only entity which appears before the FISA court) concluded that there was foreign agent activity at Trump Tower. And that would open several cans of worms.
It is also pure speculation. What is not speculation is that no one in the Obama administration ever, for a minute, believed that Trump would win. Playing a bit fast and loose with rules when there was a Hillary lock on the next administration might well have seemed like a good idea at the time.After all, the orangutang and his flying monkeys were hardly ever going to be in a position to find out.
If there is a “smoking gun”, Trump, by making his allegations and then calling for a Congressional investigation, is ensuring that its discovery will be the work of Congress and not the Trump Administration. Which is not to say the Trump Administration will not leave a trail of boulder-sized, glow in the dark, bread crumbs which even the thickest Congressional investigator will be able to follow.
Trump and his people know that if they are going to put the Russian claims behind them and, perhaps, tarnish the halo the MSM has placed on Obama’s head, the actual investigation has to be at arm’s length. Trump has got his arms-length investigation, now the question is whether he has the actual smoking gun.
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15 thoughts on “Cat Meet Pigeons

  1. Terry Rudden says:

    Thanks for not making us wait: I really was dying to see how you were going to spin this latest late night idiocy into another strategic triumph for Trump. Just a gentle correction: no, Trump has NOT got his arms-length investigation. Trump has demanded it of Congress, but a number of Republicans are demurring; apparently the President’s gun isn’t quite as smoky as your fantasy suggests. On another note, don’t you think any FISA authorized surveillance was more likely targeted at folks like Trump’s astonishingly sleazy former advisor Rafofort and others of his ilk?

    • Terry Rudden says:

      Argh. Manofort. Late at night.

    • Jay Currie says:

      Mm we shall see. It appears the Committee chairmen are up for an investigation. For the moment Trump has spiked his adversaries guns. Now what?

      Is Clapper in the know and telling the truth for once. Or were there FISA applications and orders? Were they directed at potential Russian agents or were they more general. Who swore the affidavits and at whose direction?

      Trump wins this by calling out the deep state. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. Terry Rudden says:

    Jay, do YOU believe this to be true? Do you believe that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in order to spy on Trump campaign?

  3. bonnibrai says:

    http://player.listenlive.co/25961 Sometimes my buddy Rush has something interesting/amusing to say.Noon-3PM est.

  4. Terry Rudden says:

    Jay, I really am curious. Do you believe that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower in order to spy on Trump campaign?

    • Jay Currie says:

      There are really two questions there Terry: 1) was the Trump campaign spied on? 2) If there was spying was that carried out by the American government?

      The answer to the first question seems to be yes in so far as various leaks and claims about Trump were said to have come from transcripts of intercepted conversations. (I note however that since Trump demanded an investigation a number of those claims have been walked back.)

      The answer to the second question also seems to be yes in so far as journalists have claimed to be reporting material “from the intelligence community”. That would be the American government.

      But here there are more questions than answers. Was this material the by-catch of surveillance on foreign agents? If it was, how did it make its way to the media as the rules require that such by-catch, where it involves American citizens, be promptly destroyed.

      Only when we have answers to these questions will it be useful to ask if Obama knew about, much less authorized, this behaviour.

  5. Jay Currie says:

    Sorry not to be quite as simple minded as your question Terry.

    • Terry Rudden says:

      Oh, the answer is quite simple, Jay, and you provided it. I was just curious about whether such simple minded concepts as honesty or integrity were actually part of your world anymore, even in the abstract. Now I know.

      • bonnibrai says:

        I’ve been noticing that you’ve been going from barking mad snowflake straight to full on ‘splodey head without going through your usual stompy feet routine…Progress!! BTW did you thank Jay for the lesson he gave you on the U.S. Constitution yet? ‘Honesty and integrity’ from the likes of you.Gimmie a break! What’s going to happen when they give Joe Trudeau his walking papers?

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