Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary and Armed Services Committees, has issued the following statement after President Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping his phones in 2016 and Obama’s spokesman said that was false.
Sasse raises several key points: if the wiretap was authorized by a FISA Court, Trump should demand to see the application, find out on what grounds it was granted, and then present it to the US public at best, or at least the Senate. In case there was no FISA court, it is possible that Trump was illegally tapped. Finally, there is the possibility that Trump was not wiretapped at all, although for the president to make such a public allegation one would hope that there is at least some factual basis to the charge.
my statement on wiretapping… pic.twitter.com/OzYkOCXeEh
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) March 4, 2017
Here is Sasse’s full statement.
Sasse Statement On Wiretapping
“The President today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information.
If there were wiretaps of then-candidate Trump’s organization or campaign, then it was either with FISA Court authorization or without such authorization.
If without, the President should explain what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this. It is possible that he was illegally tapped.
On the other hand, if it was with a legal FISA Court order, then an application for surveillance exists that the Court found credible.
The President should ask that this full application regarding surveillance of foreign operatives or operations be made available, ideally to the full public, and at a bare minimum to the U.S. Senate.
Sasses then concludes:
“We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and the President’s allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots. A quest for the full truth, rather than knee-jerk partisanship, must be our guide if we are going to rebuild civic trust and health.”
It appears that the Trump admin may already be working on Sasse’s recommendations: as the NYT reports, “a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates. The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such a document exists; any such move by a White House counsel would be viewed at the Justice Department as a stunning case of interference.”
Alternatively, it would be viewed as a case president seeking to determine if his predecessor was actively plotting to interfere with the election via wiretapping, also a quite “stunning” case.