Pucciarelli: There’s more to Trump’s story on Obama wiretapping claims
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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants President Donald Trump to apologize for his “outlandish” tweets that accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower prior to the 2016 election, but Trump should not have to apologize.
Although FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee during a March 20 hearing that the FBI found no evidence that supports Trump’s accusations, the facts of the story are still developing. Details have since emerged indicating the Obama administration may not be as innocent as the mainstream media continually suggests. And since Trump’s campaign was being monitored prior to the election, Trump should not be entirely apologetic.
Also since the hearing, Schumer and politicians of both major parties have called on Trump to apologize. Schumer said in a statement Trump should admit he was wrong “and get to work on behalf of this country.” But these demands for an apology stem from a lack of fair media coverage regarding the context of Trump’s tweets.
Keith Bybee, a professor of political science at Syracuse University, said there is a long history of meaningless apologies from United States presidents, and ultimately, Trump’s apology would not be accepted.
“To claim something is unacceptable, doesn’t mean it’s unacceptable,” he said.
Bybee said Schumer wants a genuine confession of error. Yet, based on Trump’s past behavior, he’s not likely to offer such an apology. Bybee added that the line of civility is drawn with each news cycle. Society can then begin to define what is acceptable political behavior.
The liberal media has done everything to protect Obama from Trump’s Twitter accusations. After the FBI testified that there was no evidence to substantiate Trump’s claims, the media was quick to absolve any connections Obama had with surveilling Trump officials.
The double standard is blatantly obvious. The National Security Agency and FBI were also unable to provide evidence regarding Trump’s collusion with the Russian government, according to The Washington Post. This part of the hearing is challenged by the media or even ignored, which continues the narrative of Trump being in contact with Russia.
The media will use the “evidence” to protect Obama, but facts in the same hearing that could defend Trump are ignored.
During the hearing, Comey discussed an FBI investigation that began in late July to discover U.S. persons coordinating with Russia. Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was forced to resign because he misled Trump about exchanges with a Russian ambassador.
Flynn, who was being monitored for his connections to Russia, plays an important role in this wiretap fiasco because he is an unmasked citizen, a known person monitored for communication intelligence. Because of the circumstances of this investigation, his name should have been redacted. But it was unmasked and leaked to the media — a federal crime punishable up to 10 years of prison.
Trump named Flynn his national security adviser in November. Flynn’s name was undoubtedly released with the intention to hurt Trump’s reputation by having a selected adviser with connections to Russia. Someone within the Obama administration would have had the ability to leak this name.
During the March 20 hearing, Comey confirmed top aides in the Obama administration would have access to the names of unmasked citizens. Additionally, intelligence reports “based on some of the wiretapped communications” were provided to White House officials, according to The New York Times.
This story has become very complex, but the bottom line is Trump’s campaign was monitored, and the intelligence was spread to the White House where Obama potentially had access.
Since this is the case, there is no reason for Trump to offer an apology.
Even though Trump was wrong and Obama never ordered the wiretap, Trump’s overall message is still intact: His campaign was monitored.
And since there has been no evidence of Trump colluding with the Russian government, perhaps Schumer should apologize to Trump. Or, better yet, maybe both Schumer and Trump should stop their accusations and get back to running this country for the betterment of the American people.
Joseph Pucciarelli is a sophomore newspaper and online journalism and history dual major. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @JoeyPucciarelli.
Published on March 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm