US Podcast: From Watergate to Trump-Russia
Amid the investigation of links between Donald Trump’s associates and Russian officials, I joined BBC West Midlands on Monday morning to talk through another political scandal, the 1970s Watergate affair that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
The discussion moves from history to the current-day, explaining why Donald Trump’s unsupported “wiretap” claims are not the descendant of Watergate — but the Russia ties that could force his own departure might well be.
Let me cut to the chase. There’s no substance to Trump’s claim that Obama illegally ordering wiretaps.
First, Trump had no evidence for this: he simply saw a conspiracy theory that was spread by Breitbart News, which was edited by his White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Here’s the real story: because of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the FBI and the National Security Agency went to the top-secret FISA court in summer 2016 and said, “We need warrants to find out if the Russians have been doing this,” including possibly on phones in the US….
What has never been established is whether Trump Tower was part of the warrant for surveillance. But if it is, that warrant was legally obtained, which makes matters even worse for Trump, rather than better.