Yeppers, I said 100% vindicated, and those who disagree are either being stubbornly hyper-literal about the word "wiretap," or the placing of a "physical wiretap," or Obama himself placing the wiretap, or standing by the point Ben Shapiro makes that Trump is still wrong because the surveillance was "incidental."
I'll touch on the "incidental" issue at length in the points below, but to immediately address Ben's argument, even if the collection was incidental, once the unmasking and dissemination of that "incidental" information occurs, that is the Obama administration illegally targeting Trump using surveillance, and that is the exact same thing as outright spying. And being illegally spied on was, of course, Trump's overall claim.
As far as the THIS WASN'T A WIRETAP nonsense, it reminds me of someone accusing a 70-year-old (Trump's age) of lying when he claims someone stole his record collection after the bad guy is found only with the old man's iPod. You said records! Where's the vinyl! Where's the vinyl! Where's the vinyl!
Not for a second did I imagine Trump meant an actual physical phone tap -- you know, like you'd see Mike Connors do on "Mannix." Welcome to the 21st Century, pedants!
Anyway, if we're going to obsess over definitions, this is an excerpt from a 2010 MIT book called "Privacy On The Line," which clearly shows that the word "wiretap" fits the exact definition we are talking about:
Wiretapping is the traditional term for interception of telephone conversations. This should not be taken too literally. The word is no longer restricted to communications traveling by wire, and contemporary wiretaps are more commonly placed on radio links [ed. cell phones] or inside telephone offices. The meaning has also broadened in that the thing being tapped need no longer be a telephone call in the classic sense; it may be some other form of electronic communication, such as a fax or data.
Compared with the more precise but more general phrase "communications interception," the word "wiretapping" has two connotations. Much the strong of these is that a wiretap is aimed at a particular target, in sharp contrast to the "vacuum cleaner" interception widely practiced by national intelligence agencies. The weaker connotation is that it is being done by the police. [ed. Big hat tip to Stuart Dean]
And that is precisely what the Obama administration did. I'll make this point clearer below, but for now put yourself in Trump's shoes…
1) The leaking is everywhere, including Mike Flynn's telephone calls and the President's own calls with foreign leaders.
2) The media knows about all the palace intrigue.
3) Media report after media report actually reveal that the Obama administration obtained surveillance warrants on you and/or your team. The New York Times reports that the Obama White House is looking at your "wiretap intel."
So, yes, unless you want to argue with MIT or become so painfully literal we all have to talk like a Vulcan, Trump was 100% correct about Obama "tapping his wires." Incidentally or not, his wires were tapped, and then the surveillance was intentionally made not-so incidental through the illegal act of unmasking, disseminating, and worst of all, the horrific act of leaking classified information to the media for purely partisan purposes.
And according to no less than CNN, it was Trump's transition team that was "picked up," and where was his transition team?
2. "Incidental," My Aunt Fanny
Not for a moment do I believe the Obama administration "inadvertently" or "incidentally captured" Team Trump communications.
What? -- and then they "inadvertently" (and illegally) "unmasked" the Trump staffer not named on the surveillance warrant; and then "inadvertently" disseminated information (that had nothing to do with Russia) throughout the intelligence community; and then "inadvertently" leaked to the media information coming from Trump's transition team, information that included communications about Trump's own family, and almost certainly included game-planning the first 100 days?
I don't believe that anymore than I believe the IRS "inadvertently swept up" conservative groups for crippling, Kafka-esque persecution while Hail Satan high school clubs sailed through the same tax-exempt process.
Let's not be stupid.
3. Obama's Creepy History of Manipulating the FISA System
In order to spy on James Rosen of Fox News, Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder named him as a criminal co-conspirator and, quite incredibly, a flight risk. This gave the Obama administration "legal" access not only to Rosen's emails but Rosen's parents' phone records.
According to numerous media reports, going back to last summer, the Obama administration applied for a warrant to "monitor" members of Trump's team. They were turned down. In October, however, while the election was still on (another claim of Trump's was that the spying occurred during the election), a surveillance warrant was granted.
Another trick the Obama Administration could have played was to ask for surveillance warrants of those who they believed Team Trump might be speaking with. Using this end-run, they could then still monitor Trump and enjoy "plausible deniability" when the truth was revealed.
Regardless of how it was collected, once Team Trump communications were "unmasked" and disseminated, that is when the illegal spying began. The leaks to the public through the media (which was almost certainly done by Obama appointees and partisans) are just icing on the felonious cake.
4. This Was Political Spying; This Was a Successful Watergate Bugging
The whole point behind the Watergate break-in was to bug the headquarters of the Democrat National Committee simply for the sake of political advantage -- to find out what the other side was up to.
That is exactly what happened here, and there is little doubt in my mind that was the Obama administration's intent all along, especially after Trump won, which would explain why the bulk of the spying appears to have occurred during the transition.
5. The National Media Knew All of This and Covered It Up
The media knew!
Say it loud, say it proud!
The media knew!
Of course the media knew what the Obama administration had done.
Why do you think I was such a dog with a bone with that story? Because the media knew the Obama administration had spied on Trump and then tried to pretend otherwise.
Secondly, who do you think most benefited from all of this surveillance intel?
Of course it was the media. They are the ones who got the intel, reported it out (unnamed sources), including transcripts of phone calls that could have only come from -- wait for it, wait for it -- wiretaps!
While the national media was receiving information that could have only come from surveillance; while the media was drinking white wine with their Deep State Source and chortling over the illegally obtained communications about Trump's family; while the media was using this Intel to plot its own strategy to undermine Trump's agenda -- THEY WERE SMEARING TRUMP AS A LIAR WHEN THEY KNEW HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH.
6. Devin Nunes Handled This Exactly Right
We don’t live in Candyland. We live in a hard, cold world where leaks, illegal surveillance, and the entire infrastructure of the national media are coordinating to destroy and remove a duly elected American president.
You want to play by some idealized version of The Rules while CNN's Jake Tapper is stopping the world from turning using BREAKING FAKE NEWS based on what he knows are lies?
I'm sorry, but losing like a gentleman when your country is at stake is no virtue.
The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officialstoldCNN.
The Nunes bombshell might have just outed F.B.I. director James Comey as a liar, maybe even a perjurer. In response, working hand-in-hand with the most unethical news outlet in America, the Deep State fired off a sad, little *squeak* squirrel.
Whether it is through a phony scandal or outright assassination, CNN wants Trump gone, and in order to achieve that, The Least Trusted Name In News is willing to conspire with Deep State disinformation propaganda or create an outright climate of hate.
8. The F.B.I. Investigation Into RussiaGate Is Now Tainted
If Nunes is correct, we'll know more on Friday, then it appears as though the F.B.I. director lied about the Trump surveillance. At best, he was highly and intentionally deceptive.
When you combine this with the Nothingburger CNN leak that likely came from the F.B.I. last night, there is no question the entire F.B.I. is politicized, which means its entire investigation into RussiGate is already compromised.