Towards the end of last week, folks assumed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be the hot weekend political subject, but Donald Trump sure made sure that didn’t happen, right? He switched subjects to tweet wild accusations that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. He may have absorbed this idea by reading a Friday Breitbart report, which discussed a Thursday rant from right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who accused Obama of a “silent coup” while tossing out an extensive conspiracy theory on the matter.
An Obama spokesperson has flatly denied the wiretapping accusations, and on Sunday morning, Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement to indicate that clues won’t soon be forthcoming, which says a lot. Also, Trump is asking Congress to investigate his claims against Obama:
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016. Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
Following Trump’s Saturday morning Twitter outburst, White House went on communications “lock down” for the entirety of the day while Democrats and even some Republicans denounced the severity of making such accusations without a shred of evidence. With the above statement, Spicer reveals that Trump has asked Congress to dig into his wiretapping claim during its investigation of Trump-Russian ties. And Trump might be kicking himself in the face in more ways than one.
Not only does Trump look like a conspiracy theorist here (which he is), but the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa tweeted that White House attorneys are trying to gather evidence to support Trump’s claims. However, CNN’s Brian Fallow points out that “doing so amounts to interference in probe & builds case for special counsel.” And Republicans very much want to avoid a special prosecutor, so they might not be pleased with Trump opening that door. However, Jeff Sessions’ recusal from Trump-Russia might help Democrats’ case to demand independent counsel, regardless of the GOP position.
Meanwhile, Trump continued his weekend by rambling on Twitter with some rhetorical questions.
Yes, Obama did make the “more flexibility” hot-mic statement (about missile defense) to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev back in 2012. At the time, the Obama White House responded to criticism by stating that he couldn’t attempt to resolve such a complex issue, which is fraught with rhetoric, at the precise moment in which he was approached:
“This is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections – this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”
On Sunday, the White House left scheduled morning political talk-show guests without much ammo. Republican Senator Marco Rubio appeared on Meet the Press and admitted that he has “no idea” what prompted Trump’s outburst.