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BRIAN KIERAN
BRIAN KIERAN

Why can’t the Dealmaker-in-Chief discuss issues or deliver facts when his lips are moving? Mr. Trump had a conversation with his obsequious buddy Tucker Carlson from Fox News and he admitted that he tweeted accusations that President Barack Obama was illegally wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.

He admitted that accusations were false. He provided a simple four-word explanation as to why the leader of the free world would spread false accusations to libel his predecessor. He used thousands of words in the cozy Fox News interview but his explanation boils down to this: It’s not my fault.

The successor to Harry Truman should put a new sign on the Oval office desk that declares, “The buck stops elsewhere.” Utilizing the alt-right media to follow the controversy and understand how this came to pass will comfort Sean Hannity and his followers who say that anyone who disagrees with him is passing “fake news” or “leftist propaganda.”

In his vitriolic attack monologues, Hannity has said, the “leftist media [creates] false narratives about Donald Trump … brainwashing thousands … with their awful propaganda.”

On March 4, 2017, the president tweeted on Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Later that morning he tweeted, “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wiretapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by a court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been struggling to explain the Trump tweets with little success. He attempted to say that Mr. Trump was referring to the Obama administration “broadly” and that the comments were about something other than wiretapping. The excuse is belied by the facts. He wants the comments and the explanations to sound somewhat plausible but he has had no success.

On Fox News, Mr. Trump used Bret Baier, a Fox News commentator, as his justification for spreading the false wiretapping conspiracy story to the world. He told Tucker Carlson, “I watched your friend Bret Baier … talking about certain, very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about.’ I have been seeing a lot of things … it’s potentially a very serious situation.”

Carlson asked, “Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it? Don’t you devalue your words when you can’t provide evidence?”

Mr. Trump delivered a classic enigmatic non-informative reply: “Well, because The New York Times wrote about it … not that I respect the New York Times, I call it the failing New York Times, but they did write on January 20, using the word “wiretap.”

There you have it! Why would he base serious accusations on a comment by an alt-right commentator backed up only with a vague reference to the word wiretapping in an article in a newspaper he does not respect. There cannot be anything more phony than this entire embarrassing and despicable episode, which is a disservice to honesty but advances the Trumpian agenda of misdirection. He needs attention and investigative resources to be diverted from his ties to Russia.

Bill O’Reilly took a stab at clearing up the insanity when he interviewed his colleague Baier and asked if there could have been a legitimate reason for a law enforcement agency to have a warrant to conduct wiretapping at Trump Tower.

O’Reilly summed it up correctly. “All that matters in this insanity — and that is what it is, insanity – that the president started when he tweeted out that he believed that President Obama tapped him in the Trump Tower … is whether a FISA warrant was requested.”

Baier responded that the only reason he posed a question about a possibility of wiretapping was that he had read a comment in a compilation of public reports assembled by radio host Mark Levin and decided to ask House Speaker Ryan in an interview if he had “heard anything about it” and the speaker did not clearly and definitely say “no” to the allegation so the question was left in the interview.

That is not a fact. That is not news. When Baier went back to Speaker Ryan about the possibility of wiretapping, he said, no, that is not true.

Perhaps Mr. Trump’s love of a good yarn may have prompted selection of Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. It turns out that the disgraced former national security advisor has been a paid lobbyist for Russia and Turkey although that was not revealed or tweeted during the confirmation process.

Flynn gained attention by being outspoken and willing to spread conspiracy theories and divisive rhetoric that critics, at the time, warned would create problems by alienating allies and provoking enemies. President Trump — who has been given the responsibility for the security of the nation and the world — should have a firmer grip on what’s true and what’s false. So should the entire cabinet.

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