Last week, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced there was evidence of President Donald Trump’s Transition Team Members being surveilled. This claim was utilized as justification by the White House for the president’s allegations of former Commander and Chief Barack Obama wiretapping him.
Immediately after, the press blew up. On one side, several political commentators and radio show hosts proclaimed the disclosure was absolute proof or vindication of the accusals Trump made. Others took to expressing their skepticism of the validity of what Nunes had to say, skeptical of the timing, purpose, and his sources. There is, in fact, some truth to both ends of the spectrum.
Vindication of Trump’s Statements on Obama?
Following the report, the president remarked that the new evidence somewhat ‘vindicated’ his claims.
Nunes reports that Trump Transition members were surveilled. He states that there were intelligence reports investigating if there were ties between members of the Trump Team and Russia, in which the government could observe their interactions with certain legal steps.
However, Nunes states the probing had nothing to do with Russia. If true, this would suggest spying-like activity on the transition team. Other Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul, share this view. The Kentucky Senator stated this was a “backdoor” approach to spy on American Citizens, using their interactions with foreigners as a gateway to observe them.
The justification over this inspection will have to be further examined to determine its motivations.
So, Trump and the White House, if the evidence is confirmed, are right about supervision being conducted. However, so far, no such proof suggests that Obama had wiretapped the incoming president.
Criticism of Nunes’ Remarks?
Controversy over the sources, intention, and timing of Nunes’ announcement emerged shortly after.
Nunes said the evidence was acquired on ‘White House grounds.’ This rose suspicion of collusion between the Trump Administration and House Intelligence to prove their claim. Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated what Nunes had told him: ‘he said that he had multiple sources.’ Later, Nunes told a CNN reporter that he had received information from an intelligence official, not from the White House Staff.
Reportedly, Nunes received the information right before he travelled to the White House. The swiftness in judgement certainly rose eyebrows.
Republicans, such as Nunes, have been accused of trying to divert the nation’s attention from looking into the Trump Administration’s ties with Russia during the 2016 Presidential Election. Many assert that Nunes is simply trying to use this as a distraction from other controversies surrounding the White House.
Nunes continues to say the source was an intelligence official and that White House West Wing were unaware of his visit. Little information has been released since, as Spicer continues to refer back to Nunes’ comments. However, expect more on this story as more knowledge is acquired!