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Dept. Of Justice Admits That Trump’s Wiretapping Claims Were Lies

Donald Trump Shrug

Six months ago, in a series of tweets, President Trump made the claim that President Obama had wiretapped his campaign and personal offices at Trump Tower in New York City, comparing the alleged event to both Watergate and the accusations that Senator Joe McCarthy had made against many people in the 1950s about alleged ties to the Soviet Union. Notwithstanding these claims, there were numerous reported denials from the American intelligence and law enforcement communities, and from intelligence officials in the United Kingdom, who had been accused of playing a role in the surveillance by Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano. Both the GCHQ itself and Fox News strongly disputed Napolitano’s apparently baseless claims, but the Trump Administration continued to repeat these claims as if they were fact. Several weeks after Trump made his accusations, James Comey, who was still serving as F.B.I. Director at the time denied that any such surveillance had taken place in testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee. Despite these denials, and the fact that he was unable to produce any evidence to support his allegations, neither President Trump nor any member of his Administration has ever retracted the accusation or apologized to the former President for an accusation that was, effectively, an accusation that the Obama Administration had committed a serious crime during the course of a Presidential election.

Here are Trump’s original tweets:

Now, Trump’s own Department of Justice is admitting that there is no evidence to support the President’s accusation that his campaign had been wiretapped:

There is no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department said in a new court filing.

The DOJ made the statement in a motion for summary judgment filed Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the watchdog group American Oversight.

“Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the government said, referring to the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

James Comey, who was FBI director at the time Trump made the statements, also said, in sworn testimony before Congress, that neither the FBI nor the Justice Department had information to support the tweets. Trump later fired Comey, a move that has come under increasing scrutiny amid federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

“The FBI and Department of Justice have now sided with former Director Comey and confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama ‘wiretapped’ him at Trump Tower,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight.

Trump has never produced any evidence to back up the explosive claim, which he made on Twitter in March, and which a spokesman for Obama promptly denied.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump wrote at the time.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump added.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. The idea that the Obama Administration, or anyone in the Federal Government for that matter, was wiretapping Trump Tower was so ridiculous that the very suggestion was rejected out of hand at the time that Trump made them. However, the fact that Trump made such as serious allegation as President regarding his immediate predecessor was serious enough that it was legitimate to ask the Administration for evidence to support that allegation. When that evidence was never presented, it was logical to conclude that the President had no legitimate basis for making it at the time it was made and that he was essentially making things up out of thin air. In that regard, it’s worth noting that at the time Trump made the accusations, we were just beginning to hear evidence regarding potential evidence that people close to Trump had met with officials affiliated with or close to the Russian government during the course of the campaign. In fact, it was during the aforementioned committee appearance that Director Comey first publicly revealed the F.B.I. investigation that continues to this day, and, of course, it was less than two months after that appearance that Comey was eventually fired as F.B.I. Director. Clearly, Trump’s allegation was meant to divert public attention from the investigation that was threatening to get closer and closer to people associated with him.

Sadly, of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve caught the President lying, and it isn’t going to be the last. A list prepared by two reporters at The New York Times has counted the number of times the President has said something that is objectively untrue. As of right now, that list is only updated through July 21st and it was already quite extensive. Adding another lie to the list is kind of like adding another grain of sand to the beach.

Here’s the pleading filed by the Dept. of Justice:

American Oversight v. Dept. of Justice Et Al by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I couldn’t resist checking with Trumpkin Central, aka lucianne.com, to see how this news was received. About 95% of the respondents believe that there was a boatload of evidence, all of which was destroyed by the FBI, with the tacit consent of Jeff Sessions. Another 5% feel that while Obama might not have literally wiretapped Trump Tower (so old-fashioned), certainly Obama and his minions had Trump and the Trump campaign under constant electronic surveillance. Again, all the evidence was destroyed by the FBI.

    Sigh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. Lit3Bolt says:

    @CSK:

    A conspiracy so vast that EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD IS IN ON IT…

    …except for the Last Rational Trump Voter, who voted for Cheeto Jesus to “shake up Washington.” And he has! So many vials of liberal AND conservative tears! Everyone is sad, except for this person who only delights in the pain of others!

    Goodbye, Armageddon. Hello, Arma-mentum!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  3. Facebones says:

    @CSK: Amazing. Jeff Sessions was the first senator to support Trump and he’s 100% on board with the racist agenda of vote suppression and locking up minorities for smoking pot. Yet he’s still not pure enough for the Trumpers. That is the base 27% that will never leave him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    What I’d love to know is the identity of the person who, on March 4, planted the idea in Trump’s head that Obama wiretapped or surveilled him.

    On March 5, Sarah Sanders said that “multiple new sources” had reported the wiretapping, which was of course utter b.s.

    On March 15, Trump said he read about being wiretapped by Obama in the NYTimes on…January 20. Seriously? And no one including Trump mentioned this at the time? Need I add that there was no such NYTimes story?

    So shortly before 7:35 a.m. on March 4, someone told Trump (he Tweeted at 7:35 that he’d “just found out”) that Obama had wiretapped him. Who was that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    @Facebones:

    Remember back when Trump publicly humiliated Sessions? The Trumpkins promptly decided that Sessions was evil incarnate for being disloyal to Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Dept. Of Justice Admits That Trump’s Wiretapping Claims Were Lies.”

    Too Funny. Only far left blogs and MSM groupies who cannot think beyond their Northeast/Hollywood/DC bubble took Trump literally. It didn’t mean he felt his phones were literally bugged. That’s why his tweet had “wire tap” in quotes. Get it.

    In the real world outside of the left wing echo chamber, we all know Trump got wind of the fact that Obama acolytes like John Brennan, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, etc were abusing our intelligence services to unmask Trump and his associates on their way out the door.

    That is what Trump’s tweet was referring to. Not some left wing fantasy that Obama was bugging his phones. You people do need to broaden your horizon, think “outside the box” and listen to folks outside your echo chamber. Sheesh.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 25

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:.. Who was that?
    Click Archives in the OTB Header. Go to March 4, 2017.
    Tapp, Tapp, Tapp: The Truly Bizarre Tweets of the Day

    CSK says:
    Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 11:31
    This is a case for Jake Tapper.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

    Also note Dr. Taylor’s post:
    Or, as the WaPo story suggests, is he reacting to a Breitbart story that was basically summarizing allegations made by talk radio host Mark Levin?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Ah, yes. When you’re talking about “tapps,” as Trump spelled it, you do need Tapper.

    Thanks for reminding me about Levin and Breitbart. So is it fair to assume that Bannon gave him a print-out of the article, since Trump doesn’t know how to use the Internet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. teve tory says:

    @CSK: I read years ago in an article about the KKK that fanatical movements were usually self-limiting, because they can’t compromise and eventually turn on each other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    Today’s History Lesson…Who Said?
    Either it happened or it didn’t.
    Denials from discredited partisan hacks like Ben Rhodes doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Denials from a know nothing Obama spokesman or Dem politicians doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
    Did Obama himself respond directly either in writing or by looking into a camera and respond?
    Trump may be a nutjob, but it doesn’t mean his phones weren’t tapped by the Obama admin prior to election day last year. Only far left losers still sulking over Hillary’s thumping would dismiss this out of hand.

    and who said:

    I don’t care who the source is if the truth sets you free. Mark Levin is an angry far right zealot, who was a Never Trumper during the campaign. It doesn’t mean his info should be summarily dismissed as incorrect just because is a far right zealot.

    Be the first on your block!
    Send your answers to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC and get a free Smooth Jazz Decoder Ring

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  11. teve tory says:

    trump’s original tweet:

    “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    Just in case anyone is confused:

    Smooth Jazz says:
    Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 14:48
    You far left cranks need to get out more. I realize you all are still hurting from the “inevitable” Hillary win, but get with the program.

    Either it happened or it didn’t.

    Denials from discredited partisan hacks like Ben Rhodes doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Denials from a know nothing Obama spokesman or Dem politicians doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    Did Obama himself respond directly either in writing or by looking into a camera and respond?

    Trump may be a nutjob, but it doesn’t mean his phones weren’t tapped by the Obama admin prior to election day last year. Only far left losers still sulking over Hillary’s thumping would dismiss this out of hand.

    Smooth Jazz says:
    Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 17:36
    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “I am, however, not impressed if the President is, in fact, basing his wild claims on what Mark Levin had to say. Are you?”

    I don’t care who the source is if the truth sets you free. Mark Levin is an angry far right zealot, who was a Never Trumper during the campaign. It doesn’t mean his info should be summarily dismissed as incorrect just because is a far right zealot.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    You are a liar.

    The Trumpverse took it absolutely literally and still does. I mean, I understand what you’re trying to do here, edging away from some of the more blatant imbecilities and idiot lies, but pretending you people never really bought it is pure, distilled essence of bullsh!t.

    The man set up his card table and laid out his game of 3-Card Monte and you bought it all.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Well done Mister B.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. teve tory says:

    The man set up his card table and laid out his game of 3-Card Monte and you bought it all.

    It’s relentless how everyone who’s ever defended trump winds up humiliated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK:

    Who was that?

    Alex Jones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. CSK says:

    @teve tory:

    In this particular case, I think the Trumpkins are united by their worship of Trump, which seems to be strong enough (now, anyway) to overcome any internecine squabbling among the Bannonites, the Javanka-ites, and the other fringe groups sheltering under the Trump umbrella. They’re also united by their hatred of McMaster.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    @michael reynolds:..Well done

    I am humbled by your appreciation.
    However I cannot take credit for something as easy as stealing acorns from a blind pig.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    It’s the classic monarchist response – the problem is never the king, it’s always the king’s advisers. Trumpies never wanted a president, they wanted a ruler. A führer.

    Instead of the Bourbon Restoration we’re seeing a largely comical attempt at a White Restoration. Said event is of course complicated by the fact that about half of whites despise the very idea, and when you add that ~45% to the 13% African-American and 16% Hispanic-American and 4% Asian-American population you have at best 20-25% of the American population interested in this bizarre project.

    It’s kind of hard to build a white supremacist regime when even the designated ruling population is either turned off or furiously opposed. Guys like Jazz, Guarneri, MBunge, Bob the Absurdisier and the rest aspire to a superiority denied them by their lack of talent and intellect and imagine they’ll achieve it by embracing the ideology of 1939 Germany and the leadership of a buffoon. They overlook a bit of a demographic difference: Jews were less than 1% of the pre-war German population. Add in a few Roma and you still have over 95% of Germans being white and ethnically related if not identical. 95 to 5 is not 60 to 40 let alone what we actually have which in terms of sympathies is more like 25 to 75.

    To put it simply, if the right-wing nuts want a race war (and they do), they’ll lose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  20. JohnMcC says:

    Wow! Mr Jazz, I for one thank you for that scriptural exegesis. I was starting to wonder why the Justice Dep’t hates America. You cleared that up so well!

    Are you on AM radio?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Mikey says:

    Dept. Of Justice Admits That Trump’s Wiretapping Claims Were Lies

    A minor quibble: the title of this post should be “Dept. of Justice Confirms That Trump’s Wiretapping Claims Were Lies.”

    Because nobody in DoJ had previously said those claims had any merit at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  22. Mikey says:

    @CSK:

    Again, all the evidence was destroyed by the FBI.

    Electronic surveillance products just destroyed with nobody saying “boo?”

    That’s literally impossible, and anyone who asserts it was done is operating from a position of complete ignorance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I do think they’d love nothing more than a second Civil War. And they claim they’d win it, because…they have all the guns, and the rest of us wimp/pussy miscegeny-loving traitors don’t have any guns at all.

    @Mikey:

    Oh, certainly it’s impossible. But never try introducing reality into a good paranoid conspiracy theory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. teve tory says:

    I bet the people in the Justice Dept who covered it all up were the same jerks who covered up all those dozens of people Killary goes around murdering hither and yon. :-p

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. teve tory says:

    I do think they’d love nothing more than a second Civil War. And they claim they’d win it, because…they have all the guns, and the rest of us wimp/pussy miscegeny-loving traitors don’t have any guns at all.

    The MQ-1 Predator drone finds their guns adorable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. Smooth Jazz says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And you are an angry left-wing hack in bed with anarchists like AntiFa. Doesn’t matter what I think or what you you say; Hillary still lost and Trump is still President.

    And you angry zealots are going to get spanked by Trump again in 2020, notwithstanding all your lefty polls who missed it so badly and got run over by the Trump train in 2016. Ayuh.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 22

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Smooth Jazz:..Doesn’t matter what I think…

    You got that right!
    No one should pay any attention to anything you post anywhere ever!

    …SJ March 4, 2017 doesn’t mean it didn’t happendoesn’t mean it didn’t happendoesn’t mean his phones weren’t tapped by the Obama admin prior to election day last yeardoesn’t mean his info should be summarily dismissed as incorrect just because is a far right zealot.

    SJ Today It didn’t mean he felt his phones were literally buggedThat is what Trump’s tweet was referring to. Not some left wing fantasy that Obama was bugging his phones.

    I really like the way he shifts from citing a right wing zealot to support his case (doesn’t mean it didn’t happen) then when he claims his own assertions were totally wrong it all becomes a left wing fantasy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    Dude, Mr. Bluster exposed your lies. A man who will lie blatantly about his own positions – and you have – is a man contributing nothing. Your God-King is a worthless creep, and you’re a liar defending a worthless creep.

    Either start dealing in reality or STFU.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  29. Kylopod says:

    @Smooth Jazz: You do realize you were just caught in a lie? It’s the same tired story with J-E-N-O-S and John666 in the past few days. You lose the argument, you get exposed as dishonest or foolish or both, and all you can think of to do is ignore the substance and engage in a stream of personal attacks, as if that’ll make you look any less laughable.

    As for whether Trump will win in 2020, as I pointed out the other day you were saying the exact same thing about Romney back in 2012. It’s your default mode: Republicans are always going to win, and anyone who says differently is a far left crank relying on fake polls. And given that we live in a democracy it’s not surprising you’d eventually make an accurate electoral prediction, like a monkey on a typewriter finally coming up with a coherent sentence.

    But what I find especially revealing that you repeat “Hillary lost” as a mantra, as if it’s a justification for anything Trump does. I guess if you were around in 1974 as Nixon’s whole presidency was collapsing, you’d be one of the people screaming “Get over it! McGovern lost.” (And unlike with Hillary, you’d actually be referring to someone who actually did get fewer votes–substantially fewer–than their opponent.)

    Let me tell you something. Truth isn’t decided by votes. If the US ever passed a referendum declaring physics to be a lie, airplanes would not suddenly start dropping out of the sky. Life is not a roadrunner cartoon in which people are unaffected by natural laws they fail to recognize. You can scream at me all you want, call me an antifa Nazi commie, and it won’t change the fact that you’re pathetically incapable of defending your “team,” and no one with an IQ over 50 is going to find you even superficially convincing.

    It’s just utterly amazing to me the level of hard-nosed certainty that you and other righties here manage to maintain while accomplishing absolutely nothing other than getting your ass handed to you, over and over and over again. It’s a level of delusion so extreme that it provides a very good explanation for why a man like Donald Trump could be elected president in this country.

    But go ahead–give me a stream of irrelevant insults and prove me right again.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  30. Facebones says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m honestly surprised Mr. Jazz hasn’t come back with the classic wing nut response when caught in a hypocritical lie:

    “Ha! I was just joking and you stupid libtard snowflakes took me seriously!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. teve tory says:

    As for whether Trump will win in 2020, as I pointed out the other day you were saying the exact same thing about Romney back in 2012.

    Holy cow he was repeating Sarah Palin lines and blaming Obama for the economy. Wow. I thought this guy was a Poe because he’s acting ridiculous, but sadly I now think the situation is…a different one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    Now, Trump’s own Department of Justice is admitting that there is no evidence to support the President’s accusation that his campaign had been wiretapped:

    —===>>>>

    This, over there? That’s my shocked face.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    @Facebones:..classic wing nut response…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. teve tory says:

    Politifact has the number of trump’s lies currently at 308, but it may not have been updated in a few hours so it could be off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. Smooth Jazz says:

    @michael reynolds:

    FU2. Like I said. You’re an angry far left hack still smarting from Hillary’s loss. This whole “wire tap” scam is pablum for you and your like minded zealots. It became clear Trump was referring to surveillance all along. Anyways doesn’t matter. Doesn’t mean squat to me.

    Keep wallowing in your anger. At the rate this is going, you will have plenty of time to wallow as Trump wins again in 2020 reflecting the GOP dominance in a critical mass of EV states. You can win all the popular votes and run up the score all you want by winning CA, NY, MA, etc. Doesn’t matter.

    Trump will dominate you far left zealots again in a critical mass of states that matter. The lib votes are concentrated in just a few states.That’s why Obama lost over 1000+ Dem seats to Repubs over the years. You far left cranks are in TROUBLE for a long time. Too bad. LOL.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  36. Argon says:

    Too bad. I suspect that had he been wiretapped, there is a possibility that he’d be facing impeachment sooner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    Liar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  38. Argon says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I thought he embraced Poe’s Law. That’s the most charitable assessment, at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. Franklin says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Hillary lost, Hillary lost, rawwwk! OK, but we’re talking about your dear lying leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  40. An Interested Party says:

    In the end, Hillary Clinton losing the last presidential election may hurt Republicans far more than it ever hurt her…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Mikey:

    anyone who asserts it was done is operating from a position of complete ignorance.

    And this would be different from the way RWNJs usually operate in what way?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. JohnMcC says:

    @Smooth Jazz: And you’re going to lay right down and kick your heels and hold your breath ’til you turn blue and won’t we all be sorry that we treated you so bad?

    Seriously, if you don’t have an AM radio gig you’re missing a great opportunity to move out of your Mom’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  43. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Just another brick in the (impeachment) wall.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: It seems that Mr. Jazz has forgotten that he’s black — or at least taht he used to claim to be back when he was whoring himself out for Sarah Palin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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