Rep. Devin Nunes and the Trump administration likely collaborated to concoct evidence of a non-scandal, and blowing it out of proportion, in order to justify the president’s audacious claims of being illegally surveilled during the 2016 presidential election, a new report finds.
New evidence has come to light that highlights how the White House was working to find evidence of Obama’s overreach after Trump’s unsubstantiated tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. An intelligence source familiar with the matter told the New Yorker that the White House organized an effort “‘to find something that justifies the President’s crazy tweet about surveillance at Trump Tower.’”
In other words, Nunes and the Trump administration may have sought to find evidence of Trump’s Twitter assertions after he made them, rather than justifying the president’s rant with evidence that was already in hand.
House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) suggested earlier this year that former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice had engaged in unwarranted surveillance of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Those claims, however, have since been dismissed by Republicans and Democrats.
Trump made a claim on Twitter that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower during the campaign.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
No evidence was ever given by the administration to back the president’s far-fetched claims. Nevertheless, when Rep. Devin Nunes came out and suggested that Rice had indeed surveilled Trump, by seeking to “unmask” names in a security document, it seemed to some that the president’s baseless attacks were well-founded after all.
That didn’t last long, however, because no one was surveilling Trump specifically: the surveillance was in fact targeting other individuals, whose conversations happened to intersect with some members of the Trump campaign.
Rice was further vindicated this week when members of Congress from both parties came out and said that Rice had done nothing wrong. However, Nunes released the information to the White House before sharing it without members of the Intelligence Committee see them, and he is now himself under an ethics investigation in Congress.
Trump had previously said that he believed Rice had committed a crime. “I think it’s going to be the biggest story,” he said of the non-controversy.