The vote on the American Healthcare Act was pulled Friday night when it became evident that there weren’t enough votes in the House to pass it, resulting in embarrassment for Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, who designed the bill. While it is a setback on healthcare reform, the bill was essentially Obamacare lite, so in the long run we can hope it’ll ensure the next Obamacare replacement is much more conservative, as it was members of the House Freedom Caucus responsible for blocking it.
Was it a bad week for Trump? Perhaps. His “failure” will be milked for all its worth — but then it gives the left the chance to change the focus from something they’d rather not admit: Trump’s claims of surveillance seem to be not so crazy after all.
Former CIA officer Col. Tony Shaffer seems to agree.
According to Fox News, Shaffer said the basics of President Trump’s claim to have been “wiretapped” are likely true, and that the incident is “worse than Watergate.” Noting it has been exactly two weeks since Trump tweeted that President Obama wiretapped his namesake tower, Shaffer said the “basic fundamental idea and claim is true.”
He said that Trump was not physically wiretapped, with a wire into his phone, and it may not have physically been Trump Tower, but his campaign apparatus instead. Shaffer said that due to the simplicity required to “mask” an American’s name during an incidental wiretap, that the leak of Gen. Michael Flynn’s name was “accidental on purpose.” “Clearly they were after gossip because it was political,” Shaffer said, maintaining that the alleged wiretap had nothing to do with Russia.
The “political appointees” in the intelligence community knew exactly what they were surveilling for, Shaffer said, adding that the case is “much worse than Watergate by an order of magnitude.” He said that even if the surveillance was done legally, the “unmasking” of Americans’ names and the leaking of the information are felons. Shaffer added that Trump’s references to battling the “intelligence community” likely meant those political appointees involved in the alleged surveillance, and not the CIA or NSA writ large.
This comes after comments from Rep. Devin Nunes, that “I [Nunes] recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Second, details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign-intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence-community reporting. Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition-team members were unmasked. Fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”
It must be noted that these comments haven’t been substantiated yet, and are disputed by FBI director James Comey. Which may tell you everything you need to know.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]