Saturday, March 4, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He received an intelligence briefing, of a sort.

On what otherwise would probably have been a slow Saturday news day, Trump's pre-dawn tweets about a supposed wiretap on him ordered by President Obama have provoked a frenzy of coverage about what, if anything, Trump is talking about. No president can order such a wiretap without authorization from a court, and then only if a substantial likelihood exists that the target is engaged in criminal activity or is the agent of a foreign power

A spokesperson categorically denied that Obama had ordered any such surveillance, although it has been widely known for months that Trump associates had attracted FBI attention for their "irregular" and suspicious contact with Russian agents. Trump, who recently tried to get the FBI to assist him in political damage control related to the Russian investigation, may actually still believe--incorrectly--that the president directly controls the FBI, which would explain why he was confusing the ongoing federal investigation with something Obama did personally.

Of particular interest is what brought this matter to Trump's attention so early this morning. White House staff, caught off-guard by the tweets, conceded that the source was not likely to be from inside the government. Rather, Trump appears to have gotten the story from, the ultraconservative and white nationalist website formerly run by his senior advisor Steve Bannon. Neither Bannon nor Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus were on hand in Florida to forestall the tweets, having been unceremoniously removed from the Air Force One passenger manifest by a furious Trump the day before.


  • A president who gets his information about his own government from fringe conspiracy websites is either incompetent or paranoid.