What’s behind Trump’s charge that Obama ordered Trump Tower wiretap?

Responding to breaking news regarding President Trump’s shocking series of tweets accusing President Obama of tapping his phone, PBS Newshour investigated this story with Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Stewart Baker, former assistant homeland security secretary for policy under President George W. Bush, general counsel at the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1994, and currently a partner at Steptoe and Johnson and Brown University Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) Advisory Committee member.


Stewart Baker

Stewart Baker EMCS Advisory Committee member

In contrast to Schiff, who called President Trump’s tweets, “breathtakingly reckless” and “patently absurd,” Baker made the case that the Obama Administration had clear cause to capture the communications of Russians who were meddling in our elections but that an investigation was necessary because of the partisan nature of the context.

According to Baker,

“…opening this investigation of (the Trump) campaign, and in the middle of an election, has enormous political consequences. And it’s fair to ask the question, were those political consequences part of the determination to pursue this? And that is something that ought to be looked at, along with the Russian attempt to influence the election.” Schiff countered by criticizing Obama for having done too little during the course of the Russian interference to avoid any semblance of impropriety.

Baker replied,

“I think you can believe that President Obama wasn’t sufficiently tough with the Russians and still believe that he was determined to be aggressive with the Trump campaign.He does take domestic politics very personally. And, you know, the FISA system is set up to provide protection for our civil liberties by ensuring that the decision to use FISA is at the highest levels of government, which it turns out, of course, are all political appointees.And in the context of an election investigation, that’s just not comforting.”

To watch the PBS Newshour segment, go here.

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