The Wall Street Journal says former president Obama is “furious” with President Trump for blaming him for wiretapping his offices at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.
The rapport between Barack Obama and Donald Trump is unraveling, with the president convinced that Mr. Obama is undermining his nascent administration and the former president furious over Trump tweets accusing him of illegal wiretapping, people close to the two men said.
The issue is over the tweets that President Trump let loose last weekend:
Neither of the men has seen each other since Inauguration Day when they embraced before parting ways:
And The Journal reports that President Trump tried to reach out to the former president in the early days of his term but his calls weren’t returned:
...Mr. Trump tried to call Mr. Obama to thank him for the traditional letter that one president leaves for his successor in the Oval Office. Mr. Obama was traveling at the time and the two never connected, people familiar with the matter said.
In fact, the paper reports, that letter was the last communication that Obama had with the new president:
The rift between the two men is now being called a “feud” by the WSJ, which reported that Obama is “livid” over the accusation:
“...[H]e was livid over the accusation that he bugged the Republican campaign offices, believing that Mr. Trump was questioning both the integrity of the office of the president and Mr. Obama himself...
A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Kevin Lewis, an Obama spokesman, said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
In fact, as ABC News reports, all FISA wiretaps must be approved by the attorney general. In this case that would have been Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
More than a thousand applications for electronic surveillance, all signed by the attorney general, are submitted each year, and the vast majority are approved.
From 2009 to 2015, for example, more than 10,700 applications for electronic surveillance were submitted, and only one was denied in its entirety, according to annual reports sent to Congress. Another one was denied in part, and 17 were withdrawn by the government.
As The Journal points out, President Obama was especially critical of leaks in his administration and did more than any recent president to block them.
A Trump administration official told the newspaper that it’s that toughness on leaks that makes Obama’s silence on the issue now seem so out of place:
A White House official said Mr. Obama had been critical of leaks when he was president, specifically those related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the email use of Mrs. Clinton, his former secretary of state.
“He was very quick to condemn it then and obviously his silence now is notable,” one White House official said Tuesday.
Trump friend and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy told the Journal that “Trump’s people think Obama is at war with them.”