White House Spied On Trump And Lied About It, Says CNN — Is This Worse Than Richard Nixon?

Wiretapping: The U.S. government under President Obama wiretapped former Trump campaign Chair Paul Manafort in New York's Trump Tower under "secret court orders before and after the election," CNN reported, citing "three sources familiar with the investigation." Assuming CNN's report is true, it means President Trump, who was ridiculed earlier this year for claiming that his iconic building had been wiretapped, has been massively vindicated. But don't hold your breath waiting for an apology.

Just months ago, Trump was called a liar and worse for his tweets alleging that Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped.

"Terrible!" Trump tweeted on March 4. "Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

Some suggested he was paranoid, had lost his mind or was flat-out lying, and CNN — which, to its credit, broke the wiretapping story — was among the worst in the mainstream media.

Actor James Woods, active on Twitter, compared the shifting headlines from CNN on the allegations over the past six months:

CNN, Sunday, March 5, 2017: "Trump's baseless wiretap claim"

September 5, 2017: "Donald Trump just flat-out lied about Trump Tower wiretapping"

September 18, 2017: "Exclusive: US government wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman"

That about says it all. And on that last headline, it's important to note that not only was Manafort working out of Trump Tower, he was living there. So the claim, again if true, means Trump was 100% correct about being wiretapped.

This is more than just "I told you so." The entire investigation into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election appears to center on the wiretaps of Manafort, whose consulting work included some foreign political groups, including in Ukraine.

Even so, top U.S. intelligence officials have steadfastly and adamantly denied any wiretap of Trump.

"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," former FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee last March. Comey was under oath.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper also denied any wiretap, telling NBC in March that he would have known about a "court order on something like this." Clapper denied to Congress that any of the intelligence agencies he oversaw wiretapped Trump, and said the FBI did not get a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) — the only court that can grant a domestic wiretap on grounds of national security — to tap Trump's phones.

A host of others, including some Republicans in Congress, likewise publicly dissed Trump's claims.

If CNN's report proves true, those who lied will no doubt say, "We didn't wiretap Trump; we wiretapped Manafort." But that cutesy, specious logic comes up short, both legally and ethically. In tapping Manafort, they knew they were getting Trump's many intimate conversations with him. That's how they could go to FISA and say it wasn't about Trump, but about Manafort. It was in fact a roundabout way of getting Trump in trouble, possibly even impeached.

As the CNN report said, "The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump."

And the wiretaps were used to feed the ongoing investigation of Robert Mueller of the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This, by the way, puts a new gloss on why President Obama did nothing at all when first presented with evidence in the summer of 2016 that the Russians might be hacking our election. It was a way to take down the Democrats' biggest threat, the unpredictable Donald Trump.

As has been noted previously, President Obama didn't have authority on his own to request a wiretap of a U.S. citizen. That requires the Justice Department. But that doesn't mean he didn't make it happen.

The Justice Department was then headed by Loretta Lynch — one of the most politicized Attorneys-General in U.S. history, known for repeatedly bending the truth in her public comments. So it's not a stretch to think that, with a nod and a wink, Obama encouraged Lynch to go after Trump. He had every reason to do so, given that Hillary Clinton at the time seemed to be the only hope for Obama's progressive legacy to live on.

"It was the Comey-led FBI in the Lynch-led DOJ, in the Obama presidency, that reportedly used the FISA Court to obtain a warrant, quite possibly based on the phony (Russian) dossier, that has provided material to get Manafort and pressure him to find something to squeal about and catch a higher-up," wrote Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker. "The legitimacy of that warrant now is in question."

We'll take that a step further. The entire Russia investigation, which was manipulated into being by Obama administration holdovers working with congressional Democrats, now appears to be a fraud. More than a year after the government began looking into the charges, no proof of any wrongdoing or crime has been produced.

This is a tragic turn in American democracy, when a sitting president has a political foe spied upon by our own intelligence agencies. It's time to wind down the Russia probe and begin looking into the real scandal: Whether the Obama administration illegally used the intelligence apparatus of the U.S. to try to neutralize a political opponent. If it did, it's a serious crime that warrants a real criminal investigation — not Mueller's political witch hunt.