What Trump knows & what he doesn’t know

Scott’s post on the state of play regarding President Trump’s accusation against former president Obama contains this jaw-dropping quotation from Steve Hayes:

White House sources acknowledge that Trump had no idea whether the claims he was making were true when he made them.

Say it ain’t so! Because for a U.S. president to accuse his predecessor of tapping his wires without a high degree of confidence that the accusation is true wouldn’t just be irresponsible; it would be contemptible, even if the accusation later turned out to be true.

Scott’s report continues (per Hayes):

[Trump] was basing his claims on media reports—some of them months old—about the possibility that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had (sic) may have authorized surveillance of Trump associates, presumably pursuant to a federal investigation of their ties to Russia.

(Emphasis added)

So again, if Hayes’ White House sources are correct, Trump’s allegation of Watergate level misconduct by Obama was based on surmise.

No U.S. president should make such an accusation against any American citizen. To make it against a former U.S. president, even Barack Obama, is shocking — or would be in a half-way functional political environment.

It’s true that the Obama administration’s conduct toward the incoming president was shocking as well. I discussed one aspect of that conduct here. But did Obama ever publicly accuse Trump of major, possibly criminal, misconduct without knowing if Trump had committed it? I don’t think so.

Obama said some unpleasant things about the Bush administration. However, I don’t believe he ever accused President Bush of serious impropriety. ( Trump has, though.) Had Obama made serious allegations of misconduct against Bush without a strong, well-founded conviction that the allegations were true, I would have been incensed.

The Washington Post reports that Trump went nuclear during a weekend in which he was “raging mad” about at leaks and accusations against him. Trump’s anger is understandable.

However, putting aside the odiousness of making guess-work accusations of this magnitude against a former president (if guess-work they were), it’s unnerving to think that Trump’s anger would produce such accusations. If it did, this suggests a lack of self-control that does not bode well for his presidency and may not bode well for the nation.

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