WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump wants Congress to investigate his claims that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones during the campaign.
That’s exactly what Congress is going to do, despite no evidence that it actually happened.
The whole episode, unprecedented in American politics, could be about to blow up in the president’s face.
“Is the president the target of a counterintelligence investigation?” asked CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.
“I think that’s what we need to find out …The president has made clear he has no interest in Russia and yet a lot of these stories that come out with respect to that are, frankly, fake,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
“So he doesn’t know whether he is the target of a probe or not?” Brennan asked.
“No, no. I think that’s one of the issues we have asked the Senate and House to look into,” Spicer responded.
“Are you saying there is the possibility he is the target of a counterintelligence probe involving …” Brennan pushed.
“No, no, no, I think what I’m saying is there is a difference between that narrative and then the narrative that has been perpetuated over and over again,” Spicer responded. “The concern that the president has and why he asks the Senate and House intelligence committees to look into this is to get to the bottom of what may or may not have occurred during the 2016 election.”
The Press Secretary was then handed a piece of paper. And he clarified “and there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice”
Trump is said to have a long history of paranoia over wiretaps. But accusing his predecessor of spying on him has heightened Democrats’ suspicions that his campaign worked with the Russians to tilt the election.
It’s something his staff has struggled to tamp down.
“It raises concerns about trust in the president, because there are one or two conclusions you draw. One is that he says these things knowing that they’re not true in order to divert the public. And if he’s doing that he’s misusing the powers of the presidency. Or he truly believes that they are true when, indeed, they’re not true,” said former CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Obama denies it. The FBI director denies it. The former director of National Intelligence denies it.
And yet congress will investigate, requesting copies of any warrant applications and court orders related to wiretaps of Trump and his campaign, adding, “We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap.”
And that’s the thing – in order for a wiretap to be approved, there would have had to be probable cause of a crime or that Trump was an agent of a foreign government. It’s something that complicates things for the president even more.