PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — In a series of tweets Saturday morning, President Trump accused his predecessor of a “Nixon/Watergate” spying scandal aimed at the Republican candidate during the race for the White House.
It began about 7:00 a.m. eastern time, as the president spent the weekend at his southern home in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump continued the accusations with three more tweets.
“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election,” Trump asked. “Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”
Although he cites no evidence nor links to the explosive claim.
So what’s he talking about?
A recent Breitbart article alleges President Obama’s administration attempted to “undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.”
The article reports what radio personality Mark Levin described as “police state” tactics being used to spy on Trump in a “silent coup” by the Obama administration during the run-up to the election.
It claims “the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign” and “continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found,” as well as sharing the information gathered between multiple government agencies through expanded NSA rules issued by Obama in January.
This expansion lets the NSA and agencies tasked with national security, like the CIA and FBI, communicate with each other better, but comes at the expense of allowing far more government officials to search through the data of private citizens.
Ironically enough, when whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed the NSA’s global surveillance practices and programs in 2013, Trump essentially called for his execution and has repeatedly referred to him as a coward and traitor.
Brietbart continues that twice in 2016, the Obama administration submitted a FISA request to monitor Trump’s communications and those of his advisers.
FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, outlines the procedures on collecting foreign intelligence information from foreign powers and “agents” of foreign powers. It’s been amended several times since the September 11th attacks, including 2008, when Obama updated it, granting immunity to telecommunications companies that conduct surveillance on customers without a warrant.
Breitbart claims the first FISA request, in June, was denied. Then, in October, the Obama administration “submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks.”
Numerous reports within the last year have alleged Russian contact within Trump’s team.
On Wednesday, the White House confirmed to CBS News that “White House counsel told the president’s aides to preserve emails and other materials that could be connected to various probes regarding Russian interference.”
Breitbart replied, “By ‘preserve’ it really means ‘disseminate’: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies ‘to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators’ and perhaps the media as well.”
A spokesman for the former president said the accusation that Obama or any White House official ordered surveillance on a U.S. citizen is “simply false.”