President Trump should be removed from office because he had no proof whatsoever at the time he stated that President Obama had committed a felonious offense. It's irrelevant whether evidence is found after the fact. He deliberately misled the public into thinking he had secret proof for two weeks, before finally admitting that he had heard it on Fox News. That was after three separate public investigations had started, all of which had already concluded there was no evidence, despite Trump's attempts to widen, distort, and even embroil other countries in his increasingly outlandish fantasies. By refusing to inform the committees of the truth, that is all by itself felony obstruction. Moreover, this is only one of many similar cases where he did not execute his office faithfully, thus violating his Presidential oath, and so he should be impeached for perjury.
Trump's inclination to distort the truth is no new news, as shown by the above chart from the Toronto Star (see Reference 13). It was hoped that this past history was simply due to campaign rhetoric, and that Trump would not continue the behavior as President. But as many other deceits have already since demonstrated, foreign powers have no way to trust a man who repeatedly lies, making it impossible for him to negotiate in faith. I am required to add at the beginning, I am a retired Oxford scholar of philosophy, American citizen, have no affiliation with any political parties or organizations, and receive nothing from anyone for what I write on this, my personal blog.
Prior to his wiretap farce, President Trump had already repeated a number of notable deceits which are not supported by any facts from his own administration or any of his government resources:
- The first deceit, which was his first public statement of fact after being sworn into office, was that his inauguration crown was the largest ever. This has been proven false (see my article "Do Facts and Rational Dialog make any Difference now?" on this site), but Trump not only continued to uphold his false statement as true, but moreover maintained he would have won California and the popular vote if the illegal votes were removed. This was shrugged off as simple egomania and relatively unimportant. It was merely remembered as notable because there had been hope Trump would change upon taking up his office, but the hope was dashed in the first actual fact he publicly stated after inauguration.
- The second notable deceit was that up to 5 million voted illegally in the last election, which Trump claims is why he lost the popular vote (see reference 14). It was eventually found this claim might have derived from the 3 million who died in the months prior to the election, but are still on the electoral record. After extensive investigations, less than 50 cases of actual voter fraud were found. But Trump continued to state that 3 million voted illegally. While many Trump supporters continue to believe he was telling the truth, this was also shrugged off as a hangover from his election campaign rhetoric.
However, the next notable deceit caused major problems.
In a series of tweets in the early morning of March 4th 2017, President Trump publicly stated that President Obama was guilty of a felonious offense [see 1]:
"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism! Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW! How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"
But the issue now is whether President Trump is guilty of McCarthyism himself, regardless what new discoveries are found:
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."
- "McCarthyism," Wikipedia
In a series of announcements, the White House affirmed that it would not back down from its statements, but would not produce its own evidence. A series of public investigations were started to find the evidence that the White House refused to produce, since which time Trump's statement of fact was politely termed a 'claim' instead [see 2]. But matters took a turn to the absurd. First, Press Secretary Spicer and President Trump explained that "wiretapping" does not mean 'wiretapping,' but could mean "a broad range of things."
Counsel Kellyanne Conway clarified the quotes around "wiretapping" in Trump's statement: Obama could have instead been using a microwave oven to listen to Trump [see 3]. Trump insisted several times that his accusation was based on fact. The Department of Justice's request for two extra weeks to try and find some proof was curtailed by Democrats, saying it would issue subpoenas if the data was not available in the deadline they demanded [see 4]. Republicans rushed to support the Democrat demand, carefully avoiding how that would require forming an independent commission, which typically take 5-7 years and thus defer the issue until the next Presidential term. At any point during this time, Trump could have authorized full disclosure of all facts with one 10-minute phone call, if there are any to disclose, but he just continued to state he was 'confident proof will be found.'
Press Secretary Sean Spicer had been defending President Trump's claim. On March 15, he added that the British had wiretapped Trump for Obama, based on a new Fox News interview with Judge Napolitano. Here is the video, but be warned, Spicer continually interjects long, irrelevant diversions:
The British GCHQ normally does not comment on British spying activities, but it broke silence to state “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored” [see 7]. But The White House continued to assert that the British wiretapped him for Obama [see 8]. In this new allegation, it was ignored that the Napolitano statement was after President Trump's original tweets. Since that time, Fox News has removed Andrew Napolitano from the air indefinitely after he made claims that a British intelligence agency had wiretapped Trump Tower [see 24].
Later on March 15, President Trump first admitted that he had heard about Obama wiretapping him in the news (10:41:13:31), although at that time he couched it so as to make it appear he might have known of 'other interesting things:'
The New York Times provided the below link to a video of the March 3 Fox News report, stating Trump cited this as his evidence to condemn Obama is guilty of McCarthyism. Trump cited a New York Times article too, but it has no content referring to any surveillance ordered by Obama on Trump Tower [see 5]. Here is the video which led to the tweets. Bret Baier stated Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Towers and that Fox News had evidence of FISA surveillance orders. Note, Fox News deleted its own video of this interview from Youtube, and I have had to change the link to a video of it three times already.
On March 16, the New York Times stated it could not able to corroborate the Fox News report. The DoJ stated it could find no FISA filing for any surveillance at all, and the Senate Intelligence Committee said rather forcibly that there was no evidence of Obama surveiling Trump at all [see 6].
On March 17, Fox flatly denied that it had any evidence whatsoever. Shepard Smith stated "Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop." Note, the right first responded with fake news that Shepard Smith was about to be fired and to ignore him (sources already deleted). Here is the video:
Later on March 17, President Trump stated in a press conference, "We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. So you shouldn't be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox." Here is the video:
President Trump had certainly made an 'opinion,' as he stated President Obama was guilty of McCarthyism and as guilty as Nixon in Watergate. But that flat-out lie is totally ignored in right-wing reporting. And due to fake news from the right, coupled with successive reinterpretations and allegations made while the source was still unrevealed, many Trump supporters still believe that Trump had undeniable evidence of President Obama's criminality.
From a rational perspective, either Trump was committing perjury to divert attention from something worse he was doing, or Trump is even more insane. Unfortunately, due the Goldwater rule, it's currently held that a President cannot be deposed by a psychiatrist, however right or wrong that may be [see 9]. So a rational argument is required. It appears Trump is now desperately hoping that something turns up to get him off the hook, and that is absolutely the wrong thing to permit. The rational possibilities are not really discussed properly, and they both lead to the stark conclusion that he is guilty of perjury against the Presidential oath:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
So, did he faithfully execute the office to the best of his ability to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution? The answer is clearly no.
By publicly stating fake news as fact, now known as completely unjustified by his own staff and government resources, President Trump has not faithfully executed his office, and thus can be impeached for perjury,
- First, it should make no difference if any evidence is found after the fact. The issue really is whether Trump had real cause at the time to state his immediate peer was guilty of a felonious offense. If not, he has not upheld his own office at the highest possible level.
- Second, defendants continue to say the President only made a claim. He made a statement of what he had just 'found out.' The President has access to intelligence reports others do not, so by refusing to disclose the source, which turned out to be fake news, he led everyone to believe he had found it out from his own intelligence agencies. There was no diminution in his outright attack on the integrity of his own office. He has not faithfully executed the office.
- Third, the President's continued attempts to find evidence for an insane claim have wasted an immense number of people's time and caused totally unnecessary international friction. He could have stated right at the beginning that it was something he heard on Fox News. Instead, he has made Congress and intelligence agencies create public investigative committees to try and find evidence in an obvious effort to hide his original source. This clearly demonstrates that the perjury was intentional.
- Fourth, two weeks later, he added and insisted upon an additional ridiculous claim by Fox News that Britain spied on him for Obama. Fox News itself has since said it has no evidence whatsoever for any of its claims, and the USA's best ally has now publicly called continued White House accusations "nonsense and utterly ridiculous." This clearly demonstrates that the President is a threat to the USA's relations with other nations.
A man who commits perjury against a prior President without proof should not be trusted with nuclear codes, or the right to start war, and he should immediately be removed from office unless he produces his proof. He should not be trusted to act further in the interests of this nation, because world leaders have no reason to trust him to act with any integrity and truthfulness.
That is the only rational deduction. However, in the amount of noise now on the Internet, and the sheer number of prior perfidies, it is no longer possible to assert such rationality over the din.
(Added March 18th}. Today President Trump did it again, showing he cannot learn from the results of his own actions [see 10]. He tweeted:
"Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes.....vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!."
An hour later, Trump received a public reply as a direct tweet back to him from Ivo Daalder. Daalder was a former United States Ambassador to NATO under the Obama administration (2009-2013) and a member of the USA's National Security Council under Clinton. Daalder stated:
"1/ Sorry, Mr. President, that’s not how NATO works. The US decides for itself how much it contributes to defending NATO. 2/ This is not a financial transaction, where NATO countries pay the US to defend them. It is part of our treaty commitment. 3/ All NATO countries, including Germany, have committed to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024. So far 5 of 28 NATO countries do. 4/ Those who currently don’t spend 2% of their GDP on defense are now increasing their defense budgets. That’s a good thing. 4/ Those who currently don’t spend 2% of their GDP on defense are now increasing their defense budgets. That’s a good thing. 5/ But no funds will be paid to the US. They are meant to increase NATO’s overall defense capabilities, given the growing Russian threat. 6/ Europe must spend more on defense, but not as favor (or payment) to the US. But because their security requires it. 7/ US does provide large military commitment to NATO. But this is not a favor to Europe. It is vital for our own security. 8/ We fought two world wars in Europe, and one cold war. Keeping Europe whole, free, and at peace, is vital US interest. 9/ A strong, united NATO, in which all contribute their fair share to defense, will secure that peace for all Alliance members."
One first should be concerned that a former democratic NATO ambassador is now informing the President on facts which should be stated by his own council. We may be thankful he did so, as he has averted a disaster in International diplomacy by his voluntary rapid action. But it appears that Trump's own council is already too intimidated to do its job. Moreover, many people read the President's tweets, and the right wing will generally ridicule a Democratic NATO ambassador, rather than believe the President is deliberately deceiving the public.
This event validates by second major instance that President Trump is deliberately stating false facts. Germany does not owe vast sums of money. And this time, he directly stated another nation was guilty of wrongdoing, when it wasn't. He has all the information at his disposal. He has all the resources necessary to review his statements and ensure their veracity. But instead he simply states fake facts which are not faithful execution of his office.
This again is perjury against his Presidential oath, and a direct illustration of how our inability to have faith in his actions is deteriorating the well being of our nation.
On March 20, FBI Director Comey testified both on Trump's statements about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower, and alleged collusion with the Russians to interfere in the Presidential elections. Comey confirmed the above statements that there was no evidence of wiretapping [see 11]. During his actual testimony, Trump tweeted:
"The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process."
During the actual testimony, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) read Trump's statement out loud and asked Comey to comment. Comey replied:
"We've offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it's never something that we looked at."
Undeterred, Trump later repeated his lie and extended it:
"FBI Director Comey: fmr. DNI Clapper "right" to say no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump Campaign....FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia.
But this was also false. Comey was specifically talking about the Jan. 6 document issued by the intelligence agencies — a document that the Trump White House has largely ignored, except to suggest it was fake. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper later issued a statement saying it was “in the best interest of all Americans” to investigate possible Trump-Russia ties. Further, Comey refused to name any individuals [see 25].
The response from the right is rather bizarre. Rush Limbaugh, echoed by Bretibart, claimed this was "due to Trump's 'drain the swamp attempts, and if he didn't stop them, he would be impeached " [see 12]. I cannot entirely make sense of Limbaugh's reasoning, but it appears there is now appearing support for impeachment from the right as well, perhaps because President Trump now has the lowest approval rating of any President at this point in his term since Gallup started its polls on it.
Here I am starting a catalog of these lies in the order I happen on them being repeated.
The President of Mexico has repeatedly stated that Mexico will not pay for 'the wall.' Here is his formal statement reiterating that to the BBC this year.
It transpires the White House has made no effort to make Mexico pay for the wall (see 27). The most recent plan is to create a new 20% border tax to pay for it, which is intended to raise the 10 billion dollars needed for it. Obviously businesses will have to raise prices to US consumers in order to pay for the tax. For coherence with Trump's other statements, this means there should be a $10 billion reduction in other taxes. There is no such plan.
Later on March 20 in a Kentucky rally, President Trump repeated again that he had arranged for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built with U.S. steel. He has also made similar statements about the Keystone Pipeline, referring to an informal agreement that pipeline builders use US steel in the future. As reported, three weeks previously, on at least five prior occasions (see 20), Trump had made similar statements about US steel being used in these pipelines due to him. By that time, it was already well known that steel for both pipelines had already been purchased. It is also known that ~40% of the steel in both pipelines came from a Canadian company, and was originally made in Russia (see 21 and see 22). President Trump is continuing to deceive his supporters and not executing his office faithfully.
During the same speech on March 20, President Trump even stated that he had met with the leader of North Korea (see 23, 22:20-30), another lie which merely recedes into noise level, for the number of continual deceits from this man.
During the same speech on March 20, Trump again took credit for job growth due to his policies. None of his policies have taken effect to cause the job growth he considers to be his personal achievement (see 25). He also takes personal credit for events he did not cause. On Jan 4, 2017, Trump tweeted:
Thank you to Ford for scrapping a new plant in Mexico and creating 700 new jobs in the U.S. This is just the beginning - much more to follow
Since that time he has repeatedly stated that his negotiations brought those jobs back to the USA, and that his negotiations stopped Ford building a plant in Mexico. But in December, Ford had dropped its plans to build a $1.6 billion Mexican assembly plant already, to shift that product to another existing Ford Mexican assembly plant, rather than returning the jobs to the USA. Ford never claimed to be bringing work back, but onlookers could be forgiven for getting confused. On that same day, Ford announced plans for a $700 million investment and 700 new jobs to build electric and self-driving cars at a Michigan plant. That was prior to any meeting with Trump.
I only just started cataloging habitual lies on March 20. Two a day is about as many as I can get through. But here are 50 from Keith Olbermann, in case you really need more evidence.
- Ernest Meyer