The last week has seen President Donald Trump making some claims about former President Barrack Obama. In the first claim, Trump accused Obama of having him wiretapped. In the second claim, Trump accused Obama of releasing prisoners from Guantanamo who then returned to terrorism. These two statements will be treated as separate claims.
Claim #1: President Trump claims that former President Obama ordered Trump to be wiretapped.
In a set of tweets on March 4, Trump accused Obama of having Trump Tower wiretapped in October of 2016. He equated the actions as being equivalent to McCarthyism and Watergate. He also said that a court turned down the request earlier and that Obama found nothing. The following is the set of tweets posted by Trump.
Trump has not provided any evidence that this claim is true and the White House is refusing to answer questions on the subject. It has been speculated that the tweets were based on a story on Breitbart which originated from Mark Levin’s radio program. Another theory is that Trump is attempting to distract the press from its coverage of the alleged Russian connections or even discredit the investigation.
Kevin Lewis, the spokesman for Obama, stated that Obama did not interfere with an independent investigation by the Department of Justice and any suggestion otherwise is false. Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser for Obama, stated that the President cannot unilaterally authorize wiretaps.
As reported in the press, wiretap data has been used in the inquiries into the alleged connections between Trump and Russia. Trump’s supporters point to past actions by the Obama administration such as spying on world leaders as support for this accusation. There is a rumor that a warrant had been granted but it is not known who requested it. If true, it means that there was probable cause.
In his accusation, Trump has not given any evidence of wrongdoing by Obama and the White House is refusing to answer questions on the topic. It is plausible that a warrant had been granted but there is no proof of the warrant and who requested it. Despite Obama’s past actions, the absence of evidence makes this claim false.
Claim #2: President Trump claims that Obama released prisoners from Guantanamo who later returned to terrorism.
In a tweet on March 7, Donald Trump accused Obama of releasing 122 prisoners from Guantanamo who in turn returned to terrorism. The majority of the prisoners in question were released before January 22, 2009; two days after Obama was inaugurated. It is not known how Trump arrived at the 122 figure.
While there is evidence that several former prisoners of Guantanamo have returned to terrorism, most of them were released prior to Obama’s first term. The fact is right but the finger is pointing at the wrong president. This claim is false.
References and Further Reading
- ‘This is Nixon/Watergate’: Trump alleges that Obama wire tapped his phones during the campaign
- Why Trump Is Accusing Obama of Wiretapping
- What we know about Trump’s unsubstantiated wiretapping allegations against Obama
- Reality Check: Trump slams Obama over Gitmo detainees
- Trump attacks Obama for releasing ‘vicious’ Gitmo prisoners