Donald Trump stayed civil for multiple consecutive days last week following his widely praised (and teleprompted) joint address to Congress, but he recovered his usual Twitter vibe on Friday, and all bets for good behavior were off. So, the president awoke from his grumpy slumber on Saturday and promptly — without evidence and before the sun rose — tweeted accusations that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower because, well, who knows?
The White House reportedly went on communications “lock down” over the matter because the mere act of leveling such accusations — involving a president allegedly wiretapping a U.S. citizen — is dire business. GOP Senator Ben Sasse knows this, and he’s very disturbed by Trump’s seemingly offhanded tweets. The senator from Nebraska broke free from party ranks and tweeted a statement to explain the severity of the issue.
Sasse informed his followers that Obama could have only tapped the Trump Tower phones by way of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order or by ignoring the order. If this would have happened for the former reason, then this would have been due to a court order, which should cause Trump some worry. With the latter reason, Trump is accusing Obama of breaking the law, and either way, these are accusations that no one (not even a president) should toss out without providing proof. Here’s Sasse’s statement:
“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information … If without [an authorization], the President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this. It is possible that he was illegally tapped … if it was with a legal FISA court order, then an application for surveillance exists that the court found credible. The president should ask that this full application regarding surveillance of foreign operatives or operations be made available, ideally to the full public, and at a bare minimum to the U.S. Senate.”
Sasse also asked his fellow Republicans to set aside partisan differences and consider the ramifications of readily embracing Trump’s accusations. “We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust,” Sasse stressed. “And the President’s allegations demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots.”
Meanwhile, an Obama spokesperson has flatly denied Trump’s wiretapping accusations as “simply false.” Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department have commented on the matter, and the White House is still silent on the issue. Well, this will provide plenty of fodder for Sunday morning political talk shows, right? Should be fun.