The current media frenzy over Trump’s tweets about wiretapping Trump Tower and the “Russia” connection are hyperventilated storms fueled by partisan assumptions of both the left and the right.
Missing in action are facts. We have none. Media reports are the sum total of the information available.
But in the today’s political atmosphere who needs facts?
Trump’s Wiretap Claims: What We Know and What We Don’t
From The Weekly Standard: by Stephen Hayes, March 6, 2017
I spent most of the last two days reporting out the extraordinary allegations President Donald Trump made against his predecessor, Barack Obama – that Obama had Trump’s “wires tapped in Trump Tower.” And I’ve spent many hours over the past several weeks looking into claims about ties between Trump’s team and Russia and counterclaims that the entire thing is an elaborate attempt to delegitimize Trump’s presidency.
Let me begin with an admission, an observation, and a guess.
The admission: Even after weeks of reporting, with good sources in the national security world, on Capitol Hill, and (believe it or not) among Trump’s team, I cannot claim with any real confidence to know the ground truth about Trump and Russia or potential federal investigations or Obama loyalists pushing storylines.
The observation: Neither do most of the people closest to the back-and-forth allegations, including President Trump, or those talking in public about what is unfolding. Most of what we’re seeing in the media is the public version of an elaborate game of “telephone” that’s taking place behind the scenes.
The guess: March 4, 2017, will end up being a rather consequential day in the presidency of Donald Trump.
Either: the president used thinly sourced media reports to float a conspiracy theory about his predecessor and he was wrong; or, citing thinly sourced media reports, he overstated the details of an actual investigation into his activities or the activities of those around him, alleging presidential involvement without evidence; or, citing thinly sourced media reports, he accurately accused the former president of doing something highly illegal and accidentally uncovered what would surely be one of the biggest scandals in U.S. history. Whatever the case, the events of the last two days will undoubtedly have lasting effects.
Here are some thoughts about this moment, based on my reporting:
President Trump’s tweets Saturday morning were not part of a deep strategy or clever misdirection play—at least not one known to anyone other than the president himself. The tweets set off a frantic effort inside the White House to substantiate retroactively what the president had tweeted. Aides collected stories published in sources ranging from Breitbart to the New York Times in order to make their case that he might have been right.