President Trump tweeted over the weekend, claiming the Obama administration wiretapped his phone during the election.
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
Is that wrong? Yes, it’s wrong now and it was wrong when President Obama did it to journalists and Congress. It will also be wrong when it happens under the Trump administration. How do we know it will happen under Trump? Because it can.
“Because of the Patriot Act. Because of the FISA courts. Because of the fact that you only need an inkling, you know, I’ve got this feeling, Your Honor. You don’t need to have real hard evidence, otherwise you wouldn’t go to a FISA court. All you need is an inkling.” Glenn said Monday on radio.
He also made the point that we’re arguing about the wrong thing — again — making it about people instead of ideas.
“Let’s be consistent. Let’s not make this about Donald Trump. Let’s not make this about Barack Obama,” Glenn said. “Let’s not make it about the person. Let’s make it about the idea: Wiretapping of American citizens without evidence is wrong.”
Enjoy the complimentary clip above or read the transcript below for details.
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: Unbelievable. Welcome to the program. So let’s go to — let’s go to Donald Trump and his tweet. First of all — first of all, let me preface it with this: Let’s see what shakes out in this. There have been a lot of accusations of a lot of things. For instance, photo fraud. And there would be an investigation. But there is no investigation that is going on. And that we’ve — we’ve pretty much moved on from.
I fear that the president could be engaging in things that are — that will position him as the little boy that cried wolf. And when he needs to be believed, will he be believed?
That’s one section. Second section: We shouldn’t be surprised that they are wiretapping his phone. Now, I don’t know if they are or not. But I believe we are arguing the wrong thing.
We all know that this power was happening — this very exact same thing was happening to journalists under Barack Obama. And it will happen under Donald Trump. Not because Donald Trump is evil, but because Donald Trump can. It happened under Barack Obama because he can.
Why can he? Because of the Patriot Act. Because of the FISA courts. Because of the fact that you only need an inkling. You know, I’ve got this feeling, Your Honor. You don’t need to have real hard evidence, otherwise you wouldn’t go to a FISA court. All you need is an inkling.
Now, should it come as a surprise to us that they were listening to the Russians? No. That they’re tapping the Russian embassy? No.
Weren’t we doing that in the ’80s? Weren’t we doing that in the ’50s? We were trying to. Now we can. We were listening to Angela Merkel’s phone. You don’t think we’re listening to Vladimir Putin’s phone and the allies around him? Of course, we are. And because of FISA, as long as we can tap theirs and they’re making contact, the Patriot Act now tells me I can tap their phones too. Let’s be consistent. Let’s not make this about Donald Trump. Let’s not make this about Barack Obama. Because that’s what we did last time, and we didn’t win because then it only becomes about the person. Let’s not make it about the person. Let’s make it about the idea.
Wiretapping of American citizens without evidence is wrong. If they have evidence and they can go to a regular judge, then they should. We know that they went to two FISA courts. Well, so why are we surprised? Why are we surprised by any of this? From the Guardian: John McCain passes dossier, alleging secret Trump Russia contacts to the FBI.
From McClatchy, FBI, five other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aide to Trump. This is during the election. Intercepted Russian communications, part of inquiry into Trump associates, New York Times.
NSA gets more latitude to share intercepted communications, New York Times.
Flynn is said to have talked to Russians about sanctions before Trump took office, New York Times.
Obama administration rushed to preserve evidence of Russian election hacking, New York Times.
Inquiry on Trump aides includes intercepted Russian data, from the Boston Globe.
Of course, they were listening. This is not a new story.
STU: I mean, the question — obviously, the way Trump put it was they hacked my phones. Right? Likely, what happened is they were monitoring Russians that wound up coming in contact with people in his campaign. If it went further than that, we’ll see evidence of it. We already know that part of it, right? There’s 25,000 stories out there about that.
GLENN: We know that. We know that.
STU: You know, I think Rubio had the best take on this. Which is, you know, look, we have to see the evidence. If Trump has evidence, he’ll present it. And if it’s really bad, we’ll go after it. If it’s not, then we won’t.
GLENN: There’s no reason for us to be arguing about this. None. None whatsoever.
GLENN: The guy who made the accusation is the president of the United States. And if the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, cannot get access to his own agencies, which his own people head up now, and say, “I want to see the evidence of what you guys are doing,” if he can’t get that, then we’re lost anyway. You might as well just shut the whole damn government down.
STU: I think what you can expect is the best possible case with the most unbelievable information you could ever have to — to prove if this is true or not.
STU: Because he has access to everything. He’s the president of the United States. Sole make a great case, I’m sure, if he has the information. Or if he doesn’t — and people are saying, “Well, he’s just trying to distract from his issues,” well then we’ll get nothing out of it. Must we sit here and obsess about every twist and turn over these things? You know, because the president tweeted something, must we sit here and devote every minute of the show to trying to parse every single claim from either side?
If this is real, we’re going to get a huge investigation. It’s going to be a massive story. And we’ll get all the information eventually. But must we sit here and obsess about every twist and turn over it? I’m much more interested in the pee in the pool.
GLENN: Well, I am more interested in making the case that the Patriot Act and these FISA courts should never be part of law.
STU: It’s a great point. Again, it’s a principle, instead of every twist and turn.
GLENN: Yeah. Let’s not talk about Trump. Let’s accept Trump at his word.
GLENN: Because we know that it was happening with Barack Obama’s administration and journalists.
STU: And journalists. And Fox News journalists, by the way.
GLENN: Right. And they don’t care this time. Only Fox cares this time. They didn’t seem to care. Everybody just kind of moved on when it was just the journalists. Now the only reason why they care is because the right media is protecting the media, and the left media is trying to bring down the president. So they’ve made a huge issue into an issue about people, instead of the idea that we should not be wiretapping in secret courts, period.
STU: And regardless of whether it happened with Barack Obama — just say — first of all, we don’t know if it did yet. We don’t have all the information. But let’s say it did happen with Barack Obama — or it didn’t. The bottom line is, it could happen with whatever president. If you’re a Democrat right now and you’re saying, absolutely not. This is a crazy accusation. You should instead attack the principle so Donald Trump doesn’t do it with you in two years.
STU: Side with the idea that you should have privacy as an individual, and these powers shouldn’t be solely in the hands of the president to do whatever he wants with.
GLENN: Or secret courts.
STU: Someone is going to want to attack you with it eventually. Get rid of it now while you’re pissed off.
GLENN: Yeah. If it wasn’t the last president and it’s not this president, it may be the next president. But somebody nefarious is going to say, well, I have this tool. Let’s just use this.