Republicans are claiming they found a “bombshell” that will prove Trump’s wiretap claims. Spoiler alert….no, they didn’t.
Conservatives are losing their minds today over a story that came out in a far-right blog and then was picked up by right-wing media on Monday.
The story said that former national security advisor Susan Rice had some names of Trump advisers unmasked in intelligence reports related to the Russia investigation. So now Trump and his supporters think they’ve found solid proof that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower.
But here’s the problem. If Rice unmasked American names who got caught up in surveillance of Russian spies, that doesn’t prove she violated the law or privacy rules. It proves she was doing her job.
On Monday, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported that Rice asked for the unmasking of third parties who were picked up incidentally during targeted surveillance of Russians. But he also made the point that Rice’s actions were not illegal. Nor do they provide any support to Trump’s wiretap lie.
Bloomberg got the original bogus Susan Rice story from the far-right extremist Mike Cernovich, who published his story in Medium on Sunday. Cernovich is known as the “meme mastermind of the alt-right.” He’s also a known white nationalist, misogynist, and he was a key pusher of the Pizzagate nonsense.
But as the Bloomberg article points out, Cernovich’s assertions that Rice’s actions proved anything nefarious are just plain wrong.
Lake wrote, Rice’s unmasking “does not vindicate Trump’s own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower.”
And, according to national security experts, Rice’s actions were perfectly normal.
Kate Martin, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told ThinkProgress,
“There is no legal issue, and if the conversations were by official members of the presidential transition team conducting government business, it is hard to even see what privacy interest those individuals had in such conversations.”
On Twitter, Brookings Institution fellow Susan Hennessey agreed.
Nothing in this story indicates anything improper whatsoever nor does it explain or justify Nunes's bizarre conduct. https://t.co/tlMh2TduMR
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) April 3, 2017
Hennessey also wrote,
“What we’re seeing here is US officials doing jobs to respond to what had markers of a counterintelligence threat: the Trump campaign.”
Despite Conservatives foaming at the mouth over this Susan Rice story, there is no ‘there’ there. And many of them know it. They’re just hoping for a distraction from Trump’s Russia connections. Nice try righties, but no cigar.