The greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power

Yesterday it was wild bullshit based-on-nothing claims screamed on Twitter at dawn, today it’s solemn demands for Congressional investigation. No doubt tomorrow it will be Republicans solemnly announcing that investigation. This isn’t a government, it’s a clown car.

President Trump, a day after leveling a widely disputed allegation that President Barack Obama had ordered the tapping of his phones, on Sunday demanded a congressional inquiry into whether Mr. Obama abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies before the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement from his spokesman, Mr. Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said that Congress should examine them as part of its investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.

But there are no such “reports.” There are people saying. The people saying are just saying. Assertions are not the same thing as reports, and it’s not reasonable for Congress to investigate every assertion that someone on Fox News decides to throw out there. The money spent on that could be better spent on foreign aid or clean water.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama and his former aides have called the accusation by Mr. Trump completely false, saying that Mr. Obama never ordered any wiretapping of a United States citizen.

“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, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, said in a statement on Saturday.

Obama’s a lawyer and has respect for the law. Trump’s a fraudulent real estate hustler, and has contempt for the law.

On Sunday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, said the president was determined to find out what had really happened, calling it potentially the “greatest abuse of power” that the country has ever seen.

“Look, I think he’s going off of information that he’s seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential,” Ms. Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “And if it is, this is the greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power that I think we have ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself. And the American people have a right to know if this took place.”

By “information he’s seen” she means people barfing it out on Fox and Breitbart. That doesn’t count. Presidents can’t be demanding investigations on the basis of what they saw on Fox News this morning. That’s not how any of this works.

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