Among the many delusions and straight out falsehoods inhabiting the president’s brain, the idea that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during last year’s presidential campaign looms up there with the claim that Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote because of massive voter fraud as the most ludicrous of lies tweeted by the Con-Mander-In-Chief.
Now, the president’s own Justice Department has been forced to admit in court that Trump lied when he made that claim in a series of deranged tweets back in March. According to a new report in Newsweek, the Justice Department confirmed in a court filing yesterday that:
“Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets.”
The Department’s filing came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request registered by American Oversight, a watchdog group dedicated to “filling the void and holding this Administration accountable—primarily by focusing on executive branch agencies and high-level government officials.” The group filed a request asking for details on:
“Warrant applications or records requesting a court order to intercept communications related to candidate Donald Trump, Trump Tower, entities housed in Trump Tower, or any person affiliated with Mr. Trump’s campaign; court orders approving or rejecting those requests; records of those wiretaps, and; communications between the FBI or DOJ and Congress relating to these issues.”
While former FBI director James Comey had already publically stated that the FBI had never surveilled Trump, the court filing is the first time that the Justice Department has ever officially admitted that Trump’s claims were baseless. The Department of Justice did add one caveat to their filing:
“The DOJ document states that its response to the FOIA does not “confirm or deny” the existence of other records that might pertain to the FOIA request but were being withheld on grounds of “national security,” including foreign relations and “the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods.”
Austin Evers, the Executive Director of American Oversight, says the documents:
“have confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama ‘wiretapped’ him at Trump Tower. As the president and his legal team continue their smear campaign against Mr. Comey, Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller and others investigating him, this filing confirms that even Trump’s own Department of Justice does not believe he has credibility on a key element of the Russia investigation.”
The timing of the release of the news, the Friday night before the Labor Day weekend, seemed designed to minimize the dissemination of the story and the further damage to Trump’s credibility that it is sure to engender amongst anyone but his reality-deprived base.
Perhaps the most revealing (and dangerous) truth that The Justice Department’s belated admission has demonstrated is the depth of paranoia that lurks in Trump’s thought processes. If that type of thinking can lead to such a huge lie related to an election that he ultimately won, imagine what it can do when applied to significant foreign or domestic policy crises.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.