The Trump Administration and Surveillance
I try to not discuss politics here, but sometimes, you hear or see something so over the top, so insane, so awful, that you can’t help yourself.
Today, that happened. I was sitting on my couch, drafting a blog post for my professional site, and I got a ping on my phone, an alert from the New York Times, that without any evidence, Trump tweeted that former President Obama had the phones tapped in Trump Tower, and some comments about how sad this was.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
This is in the midst of a flurry of instantiations of the Trump campaign and administration team having contacts with a Russian ambassador, who is also a known Russian intelligence operator (aka – Spy). Already the original National Security Director, Michael Flynn, has resigned due to his lying about a conversation with this Russian spy.
Now, the just confirmed AG, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (I just love typing that out) had met with the same Russian Spy/Ambassador. Worse yet, he lied during his confirmation hearing when Senator Franken explicitly asked about contact with Russians.
I won’t trace all the other criss-crossing contacts, but suffice it to say that it is easier to find members of the administration who haven’t had contact with Russia. Instead, I want to point out a couple of facts, and items that should be obvious:
1) If one of the Trump team members did call Sergei Kislyak from Trump Tower, it is almost with certainty that a member of the intelligence community captured that conversation. They didn’t need to trace the lines in Trump Tower.
2) If that call did happen (and I would bet my bottom dollar that at lease one or more calls did happen,) what was captured might have lead to a secret warrant request from the FISA. That would open a can of worms, and potential whoop-ass.
3) If the intelligence community has found evidence of collusion, and illegal activity between Trump administration personnel and a foreign power (i.e. Russia,) and they briefed the President, it is a grave issue indeed. I am not a constitutional scholar by any stretch, but this is how an administration gets unravelled.
If Trump was briefed, and then decided to blab or preemptively strike out on Twitter, things are bad indeed. The sad thing to watch is that with mounting evidence of interference in the election by a foreign power, multiple contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russia, and a continued cozyness between Trump and Putin, the Republican majority in Congress seems content to ignore, or downplay their responsibility to investigate and correct this behavior.
Worse yet, is the nearly half the country who seems perfectly fine with tolerating this behavior in the executive branch.
It will be interesting to see what ultimately comes of this, but I am not hopeful that Congress will get off their hands and actually do something about it, and frankly, the thought of a President Pence is a horrible thing indeed.
We live in interesting times indeed!