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Trump Accuses Obama Of Wiretapping Without Offering Proof: Experts Say It's A Catch-22

5 March 2017, 8:22 pm EST By Luan Chan Tech Times
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President Donald Trump has accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping and likened him to Nixon, but experts say Trump’s team is in hot water regardless of the claim's legitimacy.  ( Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool | Getty Images )

President Donald Trump is a very busy man, even on weekends. If he isn't engaging in Twitter wars with the media or celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger — whom he claimed was fired from Celebrity Apprentice because of pathetic ratings — he's throwing out accusations against his opposition without offering solid proof.

That is exactly what transpired on March 4 when, in the middle of defending Attorney General Jeff Sessions and criticizing Schwarzenegger, he posted four tweets accusing the Obama administration of wiretapping the Trump Tower prior to his win during the presidential elections.

American intelligence agencies reportedly intercepted phone calls between Trump's associates and high-level Russian intelligence operatives back when rumors of Russian attempts to sabotage the U.S. elections surfaced, but there was no clear indication that this was the same case Trump was referring to in his tweets.

Trump Accusations

The president's first tweet was about Sessions and merely stated that his first meeting with the Russians was actually set up by the Obama administration then, out of nowhere, the accusations were thrown.

Trump's allegations were summarized in four tweets, with the first one saying he just found out that former president Obama had his wires tapped in Trump Tower just before he won the elections. You can see the tweet below.

It was then followed by three more tweets questioning the legality of Obama's alleged actions and comparing him to Nixon and the Watergate scandal. See all three tweets below.

Obama's spokesperson, Kevin Lewis, came forward the same day to deny the accusations.

"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 ... As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen," Lewis said.

A Catch-22

Those with knowledge of the law believe Trump is in hot water for his accusations, mostly because Trump has not offered any evidence as to where he based the allegations.

According to BBC, the Justice Department sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in June 2016 in response to suspicions that two Russian banks were facilitating donations for the Trump campaign, but that it was denied twice. A new judge reportedly granted the warrant in mid-October but the FISA warrant is not enough evidence to support Trump's claim.

Now there are two ways this could go down if Trump still refuses to produce solid evidence of his accusations.

If the Trump administration does not and could not produce solid evidence to back up the president's claims, then Trump is just weaving another one of his conspiracy theories and could divide the nation further.

If, however, the Trump administration does provide solid proof that a FISA warrant was granted to wiretap Trump Tower, then it's more trouble for the current president and his team, because the chief executive can only request to look into a person of interest but cannot order the wiretap to be done.

If a FISA warrant was truly granted and Trump Tower was really wiretapped, then it must mean the court found a compelling reason to allow a wiretap to be done. Either way, it's a no-win situation for the Trump administration in terms of bulding public trust.

"[...] Obama can't order anything. Nor can Trump... The order has to come from the court, and the court operates independently," former National Security Agency lawyer April Doss said.

This round of accusations may be more trouble than it's worth for Trump and his administration.

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