8. Some Trump enthusiasts are suggesting that the latest revelations about the surveillance of Manafort “vindicate” the president in his March tweets, which accused his predecessor of tapping his phone lines at Trump Tower. Even if Trump had been proven 100 percent correct about this — and he clearly has not — he would not be vindicated. It was an irresponsible allegation for him to make, especially the way he made it: (a) FISA investigations are classified; (b) it was an explosive thing to accuse a former president of; (c) since Trump had access to the relevant information, he had a special responsibility to be ironclad accurate if he chose to speak about it; and (d) Twitter is not a proper or sensible forum in which to make a startling claim regarding a surveillance process that requires some explanation.
All that said, though, I have been arguing for months that the Obama camp’s denials, for all their strident indignation, have been narrow and Jesuitical. Some Obama apologists made the point that the president neither orders FISA surveillance nor directs the steps taken to carry it out. This was silly: Every sentient person understood that Trump was talking about the Obama administration under Obama’s guidance; he was not claiming that Obama personally interacted with the FISA court or personally conducted any surveillance.