See Tim Cahill’s article, “While we were distracted by Trump, Republicans advanced these 9 terrifying bills“. The nine bills that Cahill cites would eliminate the EPA and Department of Education, criminalize abortion, repeal Obamacare, provide tax dollars for private schools, defund Planned Parenthood, cripple unions, remove wildlife protections, and penalize sanctuary cities. And these bills are just part of a broad Republican and Bannonist agenda to unravel the federal government as we know it. It is self-evident that their strategy is to bring a full court press across the board to rush as much through Congress as they can while they control the reins of power. One component of the strategy is to capitalize on the distractions fomented by Trump’s outrageous behavior.
I have, at times, credited Trump with the wiles of his mentor, Roy Cohn. However, Trump’s latest distracting tweet, the malicious charges of bugging that he brought against Obama, are so transparent in their purpose to distract that they feel more like the manipulations at a pro-wrestling fight. It is painful to see the media take his bait.
His smear of Obama is wrong at so many levels that it is difficult to analyse.
For a start, if Trump felt that he was inappropriately bugged, he could have and should have turned to his intelligence services to investigate. He did not need to involve either the press or Congress at this stage. Indeed, given that his allegations were being made against his predecessor in office, making those allegations without evidence was both reckless and malicious, particularly since, as President, he is immune, for the time being, to being held accountable for his smears. That he would make such allegations by early morning tweet smacks of his real purpose – to command the attention of the public and media and to divert attention from his increasingly evident collusion with Russia.
Secondly, and most obviously, it is Trump, himself, who is appropriately under suspicion of colluding with Russian operatives to illegally hack the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton emails. Trump, in fact, publicly encouraged the Russians to release hacked Clinton emails. For Trump to self-righteously characterize action against himself as McCarthyism is the height of the pot calling the kettle black.
Finally, as noted in this linked article in The Guardian by Ewan MacAskill, the kind of “bugging” that Trump alleges is not really engaged in any more, largely because the NSA and other intelligence services can “bug” everything. As MacAskill notes:
“Among the many intercept programmes revealed by Snowden was Tempora, run by the NSA’s UK counterpart GCHQ, and shared with the Americans. This was a kind of wiretap on a scale that would have been beyond the imagination of the American civil war soldiers who climbed telegraph poles, or the FBI agents breaking into King’s hotel room to plant a bug.
GCHQ placed intercepts on the network of fibre-optic cables that carry much of the world’s internet traffic, offering a window into the world of an estimated two billion users of the worldwide web.
The US intelligence agencies have so far made a distinction when denying surveillance of Trump. There have been no denials about surveillance of those associates who might have been in contact with Russians. Those kind of contacts would be relatively easy to establish, not through break-ins or even physical surveillance – which has not been made redundant by the digital age, with agencies running teams trained in following targets without, hopefully, being seen. With so much information hoovered up and available to the agencies, all they have to do is sift through those communications to establish the extent – if any – of links between Russia and Trump’s team.”
The bottom line is that if Trump operatives were in ongoing contact with Russian governmental officials, they would have certainly been monitored by US intelligence. In this day and age, it would be naive to think otherwise. Whatever Trump may be, he is not naive. In short, if Trump is equating US intelligence monitoring Trump’s aide’s communications with Russia with Obama “bugging” Trump Tower, he may in that sense be accurate. On the other hand, those are precisely the ongoing communications of which Trump is suspected and which would be indicative of his personal treasonous actions. And which, one may suspect, Trump fears will lead to his downfall.