Donald Trump is the “deflector-in-chief”, a top Democratic leader today said and suggested that the US president’s allegation of wiretapping of Trump Tower before the 2016 elections was a “wrap-up smear” being used as a tool by “an authoritarian”. “The president is the deflector-in-chief, anything to change the subject from where the heat is,” the House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN.
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She was responding to Trump’s allegation that his predecessor Barack Obama had ordered wiretapping of the Trump Tower before the November elections. The allegation has been denied by Obama’s spokesperson Kevin Lewis as “simply false”.
Pelosi said: “As one who has been engaged in intelligence, a member of the Gang of Eight, for a long time, I can tell that it’s just ridiculous for the president, President Trump, to say that President Obama would ever order any wiretap of an American citizen, any president.”
“We don’t do that. It’s called a wrap-up smear. You make up something,” she said.
“It’s a tool of an authoritarian, to just have you always be talking about what you want them to be talking about. Rather than Russia, we’re talking about, did President Obama do thus and so? He certainly did not,” she said.
“Then to take it to the Congress and say, now you investigate this, when he’s been not in favour of Congress investigating anything, including what do the Russians have on Donald Trump politically, financially or personally, that’s the truth we want to know,” she said.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton told Fox news that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has already begun a probe into Russia’s efforts “to undermine confidence” into the American political system and US interest across the world.
“That inquiry is going to be thorough, and we’re going to follow the facts wherever they lead us. And I’m sure that this matter will be a part of that inquiry,” Cotton said.
“We are going to review allegations of any kind of improper contacts between Russian officials and campaign officials or other American citizens. And I’m sure that we’ll be reviewing any allegations such as this,” he said when asked about Trump’s wiretapping allegations.
However, Cotton said, he has seen no such evidence on the allegations that has appeared in the media so far. “That doesn’t mean that none of these things happened. It simply means I haven’t seen that yet – as Speaker Ryan said in the lead-in to our conversation here,” he said.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons said “no president should ever directly order and intercept a wiretap” on an American citizen. “You have to go in front of a judge and get a warrant in order to conduct a wiretap,” he said.
“So, one of two things has happened here. Either President Trump has inappropriately released classified information and was himself a subject of a court-ordered wiretap. I think this is a very remote possibility – there was some inappropriate actions by the previous administration,” Coons told Fox News.
“In either case, it doesn’t help our country for this to all be worked out on Twitter,” he said.