There are some things you shouldn’t have to explain, but with Donald Trump in the White House and his supporters often clinging to falsehoods and perpetuating many different realities, it’s impossible not to.
Their latest alternative fact, peddled by Breitbart: Trump has been “vindicated” by new CNN reporting that his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was wiretapped under a secret court order. CNN notes that Manafort spoke to Trump after the election and may have sought Russia’s help during the election.
The New York Times also reported on Monday that “prosecutors told Mr. Manafort they planned to indict him” after they raided his home in July.
You won’t hear much about the actual facts of these two bombshell reports from those who still don #MAGA hats, though. Instead, buoyed by the Breitbart nonsense, they’re pushing the laughable claim that this news vindicates their president.
Let’s discuss this insanity.
Here’s Trump’s initial and still-bogus claim about President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower, which he originally pushed back in March:
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
Compare this outrageous claim with the reality (some of us still live there): Investigators wiretapped Manafort under secret court orders during and after the campaign.
In other words, Trump Tower’s “wires” were not the target; Paul Manafort was. And the same CNN report noted that even though Manafort does have a residence inside Trump Tower, “it’s unclear whether FBI surveillance of him took place there.”
Let’s also keep in mind that about two weeks ago, even Trump’s own Justice Department debunked the president’s false claim about the former president wiretapping Trump Tower. But, goodness, where there’s a will there’s a way in the land of alternative facts.
To put it simply to my Trump-supporting friends: You shouldn’t be cheering this news. You should be shaking in your boots about what might come next.
In order to get the type of warrants that allowed federal investigators to search Manafort’s home and monitor his communications, Robert Mueller needed probable cause that a crime was committed – and he apparently had it.
So, no, even though we shouldn’t have to explain this, the Paul Manafort news does not vindicate Trump’s still-untrue claim that Trump Tower was the target of an Obama-directed wiretap. In fact, it puts the president in even more legal jeopardy surrounding the Russia investigation.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.