Should Donald Trump apologize to Barack Obama?
via AP

Should Donald Trump apologize to Barack Obama?

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Nearly two weeks ago, President Trump accused his predecessor of wiretapping his residence—a felony. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Intelligence Committee have now said there is no evidence of any wiretap at Trump Tower. Critics say this is proof that Trump leveled a libelous falsehood at Obama, and should come clean. It's time to apologize. Trump supporters say the president is only wrong if you take his tweets literally. Wiretapping means a lot of things. What do you think?

UPDATE: FBI Director James Comey said at a recent Congressional hearing, "With respect to the Presidents tweets ... I have no information that supports these tweets." The director later said "no individual in the United States can direct electronic surveillance of anyone."

The Votes Are In!

Here are the tweets from President Trump accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of installing a wiretap on Trump, a private U.S. citizen. The accusation is a felony and if true, would probably be the most egregious abuse of power ever documented in the Oval Office.

... There's just one problem, there's no proof any of that happened. Not only did President Obama vigorously refute those charges, but now both House Speaker Paul Ryan and the House Intelligence Committee have gone on record to say there's no proof that Obama ever "wiretapped" Trump Tower or Donald Trump.

The former president denied it. So did the former national intelligence director. The F.B.I. director has said privately that it is false. The speaker of the House and the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — all three Republican — see no indications that it happened.
But President Trump insists he is right. No matter how many officials, even in his own party, dismiss his unsubstantiated claim that President Barack Obama secretly tapped his phones last year, the White House made clear on Thursday that it would stand by the assertion.

And now that Republican leaders who have access to classified intelligence have come out to refute President Trump's claims, Democrats and other politicians believe Trump owes Obama an apology—at the very least.


But Trump says he used the term wiretapping in air quotes, to indicate that he was not specifically referring to a wiretap, but surveillance measures in general. And considering the volume of reporting about leaked phone calls from Trump aides to the Russian ambassador, it seems difficult to believe that Trump or officials in his orbit, did not get caught up in some kind of surveillance effort.

“If you look at the president's tweet, he said very clearly, quote, 'wire tapping' — in quotes,” Spicer said during Monday's news briefing, making air quotes with his fingers to emphasize his point. “There's been substantial discussion in several reports. … There's been reports in the New York Times and the BBC and other outlets about other aspects of surveillance that have occurred. The president was very clear in his tweet that it was, you know, 'wire tapping' — that spans a whole host of surveillance types of options.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Ah, the old air-quotes defense. According to Spicer's new argument, Trump didn't necessarily mean wiretapping when he said “wire tapping” — and reporters should know this because he put the phrase in quotation marks. By “wire tapping,” Trump could have been referring to any one among “a whole host of surveillance types.” Obviously.

And let's be honest, neither the F.B.I. nor any members of the intelligence community have gone on public record to say Trump is wrong. Plus, the president seems to indicate more information will come out. Shouldn't we wait and see before telling Trump to apologize to Obama?

Sorry, if people are saying you can be sued for libel... maybe it's time you just apologize.

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