On Saturday morning, #President Trump began a series of tweets which suggested that, during the presidential campaign, the then President #Obama had phones in Trump Tower wiretapped.

As of the time of writing, no evidence has been given to support these claims, nor have any sources been referenced or disclosed. However, Trump's confidence and insistence with these allegations seem to suggest that he has no doubt that the wiretapping took place. The lack of evidence or verified sources supporting these claims has meant few believe them. Indeed, recently Trump has criticized the media for writing stories based on the word of anonymous sources, which may suggest a degree of hypocrisy.

Advertisements
Advertisements

However, on the other hand, it makes sense that Trump wouldn't identify an intelligence operative, assuming that is where the information if grounded in some truth, originates. Shortly after these tweets a statement by Ken Lewis, Obama’s spokesman was released, it says that at no point in his presidency did Obama or any White House official ever ordered surveillance directly on US citizens. Any suggestion otherwise is "Simply False."

The Claims

The lack of evidence to support these bold claims did not stop Trump tweeting about it four times. Each one is slightly telling and revealing of Trump's intentions and mindset.

One tweet seemed to imply that Trump was considering prosecuting Obama, saying: “I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just before Election! ”The last tweet directly referenced the Watergate scandal which these claims echo.

Advertisements

“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate..."It could be argued that Trump's intentions behind these tweets are manifold. 1) To rally his more enthusiastic to his "defense" thereby increasing loyalty and support 2) To attempt to tarnish or at least cast an unfavorable light on Obama's legacy, now viewed as extremely positive. 3) If there was no wiretapping and Trump knows this, then the claims could be a method of drawing public attention to the collusion behind members of his staff and Russian authorities. 4) Or if there was wiretapping, he is revealing an important act of corruption done by the Obama administration.

Analysis

It is unknown whether Trump will further act on these claims or find ways to support them. What is problematic, is that one of the parties, President Trump, or Obama (via Ken Lewis) logically, is knowingly and purposefully lying. Unless concrete evidence is demonstrated that wiretapping did or did not occur, these claims will only cause division, with people loyal to Obama supporting Obama, and people loyal to Trump supporting Trump.