In additional tweets in the same series he claims it is equal to Nixon/Watergate and that Obama is a “bad (or sick) guy!” This has launched a three-week search for evidence to support the claim embroiling two congressional committees, the Justice Department, FBI and other intelligence agencies.
But Trump’s view of credible evidence is largely determined by the narrative he is telling and selling. The wiretap narrative is a part of the alt-right view that much of the bad news and controversy of Trump’s first eight weeks in office is a product of a conspiracy to disrupt his administration and even possibly remove him. The coup d'état theory is the story Trump saw in Breitbart prior to his tweets.
But the theory Trump was surveilled had circulated among the Trump Oval Office crew since the leaks that were responsible for the removal of Michael Flynn as head of National Security were published. In the Oval Office view the leaks are part of a massive conspiracy from Obama loyalists, Democrats and liberals in the bureaucracy, the legacy media and the deep state that is, military and security forces, to hamper his administration, or as Trump said in his wild Friday press conference, “The leaks are real, the news is fake (2-16-17). Trump believes he is being undermined every day.
Leaks and the Coup that Removed Flynn
- November 17 - Flynn offered NSC job
- December 29 - Obama sanctions put on Russia for hacking
- December 29 - Flynn calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak
- December 30 - “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” (Tweet by D. Trump)
- January 12 - Washington Post publishes there was a call (leak). Spicer – no sanctions discussed.
- January 15 - Pence reaffirms no sanctions discussed
- January 23 - Spicer press conference. No sanctions discussed.
- January 26 - Justice Department informs White House sanctions discussed
- January 28 - Flynn with Trump during Putin phone call
- February 1 - Flynn announces at press briefing “putting Iran on notice”
- February 8 - Flynn denies to Post sanctions discussed
- February 9 - Washington Post publishes Flynn talked about sanctions (9 different leaks). Flynn modifies position to “couldn’t be certain.”
- February 13 - Washington Post reports (online) that White House knew for weeks Flynn misled them. Flynn sits in Trudeau press conference. Kellyanne Conway: “full confidence.” Spicer: the President is “evaluating the situation.” Resigns 10 pm that evening. “I inadvertently briefed the Vice President-elect and others with incomplete information.”