During his March 14, 2017 daily White House news briefing, Press secretary Sean Spicer was asked how confident is President Donald J. Trump that any evidence will arise to support his claim that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration.
In his response Spicer said he thinks President Trump is very confident. Spicer went on to mention the “significant” reporting about surveillance that have occurred throughout the 2016 election and said, Trump feels very confident it will ultimately come to that and he will be vindicated.
Here’s the exchange from the White House transcript of the briefing:
Q Thanks, Sean. As you know, the DOJ now has an additional week to produce evidence that President Trump was wiretapped by the Obama administration. How confident is President Trump that any evidence will arise to support his claim?
MR. SPICER: I think he’s extremely confident. There’s been — I mean, I mentioned this before — I’ll let them do their job. I’ll let the House and Senate and I’ll let the DOJ report this. But as I commented in the past, I think there’s significant reporting about surveillance techniques that have existed throughout the 2016 election. I’ll leave it to them to issue their report. But I think he feels very confident that itwill ultimately come to this — will vindicate him.
Q And a quick follow-up. When a decision is announced, whatever evidence or potentially no evidence is released, will he make a statement about the evidence or lack of evidence?
MR. SPICER: I’ve been asked this I think at least three times, and I don’t want to prejudge what’s going to come. I’m sure you will do a fine job of asking me the question when there’s a report to be asked and I will not be able to escape it. But I don’t want to get ahead of what the President may or may not do.
But the White House press corps wasn’t satisfied with that and the next questioner asked if it was possible that no evidence would be submitted. Spicer replied again indicating they would “present” the “significant reporting on the subject.” Here is that exchange from the briefing transcript:
Q Evidence will be presented?
MR. SPICER: I don’t want to get ahead of — as I mentioned, I’m not going to —
Q Because the House Intelligence Committee has given the administration until Monday —
MR. SPICER: I understand — no, it’s given the DOJ, and the Department of Justice. Again, we covered this yesterday. But I’m not going to get ahead of what they may or may not submit.
Q It’s possible there may be nothing.
MR. SPICER: No, that’s not — I think there is — at least from where we stand, we know that there’s significant reporting on the subject that —
Q Something will be presented.
MR. SPICER: Yeah, I feel very confident of that.
You can watch the exchanges about the wiretapping evidence in 90 seconds the following video staring at the 37:51 mark and running through 39:32 mark:
As you no doubt recall, there were a number of articles that form the bases for Spicer’s “‘significant’ reporting about surveillance.” The most comprehensive analysis of that reporting I have seen is the March 6, 2017 article by Steve Hayes. In his article Hayes looks at articles including:
- Louise Mensch article in Heat Street, in which she wrote “the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
- The BBC
- The Guardian, which could not confirm reporting on a FISA warrant in October, but reported that a request in June had been denied.
- The New York Times
Hayes admits that after his comprehensive look at the wiretapping claims and what I think is the significant’ reporting Spicer refers to as the vindicating evidence “I cannot claim with any real confidence to know the ground truth about Trump and Russia or potential federal investigations or Obama loyalists pushing storylines”
One must wonder whether anyone will feel differently after Trump submits his evidence.