On Saturday, March 4, 2017, Donald Trump issued a series of tweets via Twitter accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election. Donald Trump has inferred that Barack Obama attempted to interfere with the election via a Watergate-type scandal.
The allegation and the tweets demonstrate once again that Trump has no business leading the country.
Wiretapping the telecommunications of a building or an individual requires either the help of the telecommunications providers or by physically wiretapping into the telco lines coming into the building. Both are illegal if not authorized by a court order.
The president of the United States does not have the authority to issue a tap of any telecommunications of U.S. citizens.
To wiretap a U.S. citizen, a special court would issue a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) order to intervene in the telecommunications of an individual or a group of individuals. FISA orders are limited to investigations into foreign intelligence gathering operations in the U.S. A U.S. citizen must be under investigation for treason or for working for a foreign government for a FISA order to be granted against them.
The second way that a wiretap can be authorized is through a court order for a criminal investigation. The target must be under criminal investigation for a court order to be issued to intervene on their communications.
Obviously, there is the third option that an illegal wiretap was used.
As is usual with the Trump administration there is much innuendo with little to no facts.
Let’s look at Trump’s tweets. Donald Trump clearly alleged that it was Barack Obama who ordered the wiretap of Trump Towers which has yet to be substantiated.
Regardless, if a wiretap was placed on Trump Tower it was either legal or illegal. A court order or FISA warrant are the two legal ways. The third way was an illegally intervened telco lines.
There are various news reports alleging that a FISA order was requested, some rejected and one or more approved on October of last year for the Trump Tower. It is in dispute if this is the evidence of Trump’s wiretapping allegation. Regardless of whether it is evidence or just a distraction the fact remains that either a FISA warrant was issued or a court order was issued to wiretap Trump Tower. Both scenarios are bad for Donald Trump as the wiretapping was the result of alleged criminal activity in Trump’s building. Whether Trump was targeted is immaterial.
Illegally wiretapping the building is another possibility.
So, let us break down.
First, if it was a legal wiretap it would signify that an allegation of criminal activity was made against someone in Trump’s building possibly including Trump, himself. Regardless, it was not Barack Obama who would have had the authority to order the wiretap of Trump’s building.
Had the wiretap being illegal then it could possibly have included Obama as part of the conspiracy.
This brings us back to the most important issue of Trump’s allegation, accountability to the people of the United States.
If Donald Trump has evidence that demonstrates that an illegal wiretap was put into his building, then he has a responsibility to the electorate to declassify whatever document he need to prove his allegation.
It is within his authority and it is important to note that Trump, himself declassified any pertinent information by making the allegation on Twitter in the first place.
Donald Trump has alleged a serious crime against Barack Obama and now owes it to the people of the country to offer any proof he has.
On the other hand, if Trump made the allegation based on erroneous or incomplete information he also has a duty to clarify this because not do so undermines the authority of the executive branch of the United States, his and Barack Obama’s.
But he has done neither, leaving the allegation withering on the vine of speculation across the news media.
This is wrong and additional clear proof that Donald Trump has no business leading the country.