Such is my experience of perusing the avalanche of coverage, speculation and light sprinkles of serious legal observation over the last several hours.
And I asked myself, should I blog about this? Not only was I unsure I had anything new to add, I just couldn't take a fresh stoking of that grinding noise.
But Guy Benson at Townhall has endeavored to distill this episode to its essence, and he's done a magnificent job:
The deep undermining of the public's trust in vital US institutions is precisely what our adversaries want. This deterioration is hastened by bad, discredited, agenda-driven reporting from the media, conspiracy-mongering, as well as serial dishonesty from elected partisans. And yes, sloppy, unsupported, drive-by 'bombshells' dropped by the President of the United States would also contribute to the problem. If Trump has evidence that he was illegally wiretapped, he should produce it immediately. Based on the White House statement above, it doesn't look like any such proof is forthcoming. Instead, he's punted his claims over to Congressional investigators, and announced that he won't comment further until they've looked into it. Unless new details come to light, this response strongly suggests that Trump saw a report about the alleged wiretapping efforts (perhaps this timeline published by Breitbart on Friday), became agitated, and fired off some slapdash tweets without thinking through the implications or familiarizing himself with the relevant details or context.
"But he believes it, and might be proven right" is not an acceptable defense here. We could debate whether it would have been wise for him to simply ask provocative questions pertaining to these reports, but he went a big step further and issued declarative statements of egregious wrongdoing, seemingly without hard evidence. That is not responsible presidential conduct. As others have pointed out, the only way Trump comes out of this without denting his own credibility is if specific evidence emerges that the Obama administration unlawfully wiretapped Trump's phones. If there was no such wiretap, Trump looks reckless. And if there was some form of wiretap against certain figures in Trump's camp, a FISA warrant application must exist somewhere, the contents of much may not be flattering to Trumpworld.
I'll leave you with two must-read pieces by former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, who delves into the context and breadcrumbs on the supposed FISA warrants. McCarthy concludes that even if the alleged investigation was less dramatic or sinister than Trump's tweets indicate, Obama's DOJ may have severely overstepped its bounds. His second column about Obama officials' parsed denials was published before Clapper made the more categorical statement quoted above, but it's still worth a close read. In sum, I am by no means automatically inclined to take Obama loyalists' word at face value, nor do I put it past his administration to abuse its power for political purposes -- especially with memories of the IRS targeting outrage and the James Rosen affair fresh in my mind. But given his propensityto repeat unsubstantiated nonsense that fits his personal narrative, I'm similarly disinclined to reflexively take President Trump at his word. His charges against Obama are extraordinary. Let him validate them with proof, or risk further exacerbating his reputation as an unreliable deliverer of truth.There is no better Exhibit A for Squirrel-Hair's boneheadedness, vulgarity, and impulsiveness the his use of Twitter,
It now has him in his hottest water so far.
Benson - like Ben Sasse - is exactly right: You can't go spewing a charge like that without immediately following it up with airtight substantiation.
It could have been so different. We could have had an articulate, coherent, mature, conservative candidate - who could have beaten the Mao suit off Madame Bleachbit - and been where we are policy-and-appointment-wise without the embarrassment and chaos. But, no, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Wayne Allen Root and Conrad Black insisted on this goofball.