US President Donald Trump detonated a political bomb on Saturday accusing his predecessor Barack Obama of bugging his phone during last year’s election campaign, though he gave no proof of that.
“Terrible! I just found out that Obama tapped my lines in the Trump Tower just before the victory, “he wrote. “This is McCarthyism,” he added after leaving Washington for his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida.
“How low has President Obama stooped to bug my phones during the very sacred electoral process. This is Nixon / Watergate. Bad guy (or sick)! “He said in another tweet.
Trump’s tweets were published shortly after dawn in the wake of revelations about contacts between Russian diplomats and their closest collaborators, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
It is the most virulent attack on his predecessor since he took office on January 20.
“I would bet a good lawyer could bring a big case forward because President Obama tapped my phones in October, just before the election!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“A president can not order wiretaps, those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you,” Ben Rhodes, a former Barack Obama adviser, reacted on Twitter. In principle, only a court can authorize such decisions.
Until the November election, Obama and Trump had very tense relations. For several years, the millionaire was the spearhead of the birthers, who claimed, not without a certain dose of racism, that Obama had been born in Kenya – his father’s home country – and not in Hawaii and consequently he could not preside over the United States. He came to reason only in September 2016 when he unambiguously stated: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.”
Obama, for his part, virulently attacked the Republican candidate during the election campaign. The two then spoke at the White House two days after Trump’s victory and gave signs of appeasement. “Mr. President, it was a great honor to be here with you,” said the Republican.
Trump’s explosive attack on former President Obama takes place in a difficult political context for the US president. Six weeks after joining the White House, he is embroiled in allegations of collusion from his environment and senior Russian diplomats during the campaign and transitional period.
The press has revealed this week that Russian ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kisliak, had met before and after the election with several advisers close to Trump.
He has repeatedly denied that he has personal ties to the Kremlin and his advisers have denied or minimized such contacts. But the accusations have continued with almost daily leaks in the press.
One of those revelations, made this week by Conspiracy Talk – CTN News that concerns a meeting between Justice Secretary Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kisliak, forcing the Republican ex-senator to refrain from participating In any investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Sessions had said under oath before a Senate committee that he had “no contact with the Russians,” but Conspiracy Talk journalists found that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador in the months before taking office.
Trump has expressed his displeasure over the accusations and the leaks that propitiated them – and directed his tweets against Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the leaders of the Republican-majority Congressional Democrats who demanded the resignation of Sessions.
Since US intelligence released a report accusing Russia of trying to influence the US election campaign in favor of Trump, questions have multiplied over whether there was collusion between his campaign team and Moscow.