Gilmore thinks it’s really a case study in why traditional media are kaflooey:
This morning President Donald Trump turned the American political system on its head yet again. In a rapid-fire series of tweets, he claimed that former President Obama had wired tapped him while he was the president-elect. It’s difficult to convey how extraordinary this allegation is and how comprehensively it has scrambled the political landscape. A newly incumbent president accusing the previous president of using the nation’s federal surveillance courts for political dirty tricks makes Watergate seem like child’s play.
The effect was instantaneous: media were left shell shocked while major political players ran for cover, not wanting to be asked about anything. Trump, weary of the landmines planted by an outgoing Obama, and realizing that they were likely set to go off with a regularity that would keep him from his agenda, simply blew the whole thing up. It’s as though he wrote a new book: The Art of the Political Bombshell.
For several hours media were left stunned and adrift, until they fastened on the “without any evidence” Trump has claimed wiretapping. Deeply unpersuasive but revealing, this tack does nothing to blunt the cataclysm unleashed by a half dozen tweets.
Even this, though, is simply taking the bait offered by Trump: it ensures the story continues for weeks. What is the evidence? Who knew what when? In a flash current American politics has been transformed.
Former President Obama’s short, terse, painfully calculated response didn’t help him. He said, through a spokesman and in full: “A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.
As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
First, Trump didn’t claim interference with a Justice department investigation so this denial is odd unless, as seems to be the case, Obama is signaling that his former Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, is about to be thrown under the bus. Second, the federal surveillance court, known as FISA, orders surveillance so this second and final sentence is too clever by half.
Additionally, Obama did not state that he was unaware of it nor that the results were not shared with him. Certainly he didn’t say if he used any information, such might it be, politically against Trump.
The fallout will continue for some time. The political ramifications are almost impossible to predict save for their enormous scope. The story is worldwide and rightly so.
Through his tweets, President Trump has shown in the most dramatic way possible that the forgotten men and women who elected him will not be silenced by the forces that engineered America’s decline. If large parts of the Washington establishment must be reduced to rubble in order to do so, then that, he might say, is just the price of doing business.
See also: Our American friend: A president like no other