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Column: Enough with the wiretapping nonsense

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Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on the Monday morning show circuit to give Americans the healthy dose of misinformation they’ve come to expect from Trump administration officials over the past weeks.

Conway was given the impossible task of defending President Donald Trump’s accusation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, a claim he made in a Tweet March 4 with no evidence. The result was an asinine explanation where the counselor suggested Obama could have been surveilling Trump through a number of devices, including “microwaves that turn into cameras.”

Conway walked back her comment later that morning on CNN, somehow including a reference to “Inspector Gadget,” a franchise that last enjoyed relevance during the same period that the majority of the Trump administration’s policies are lifted from.

Press secretary Sean Spicer — who apparently drew a longer straw than Conway — took the easier way out during his press briefing later in the day. To quote CNN’s write-up on the briefing, “Spicer said Trump wasn’t referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.”

Instead, Spicer said Trump was using “wiretapping” as a broad term for any form of “surveillance” and the mention of Obama was broadly referring to anyone within the former president’s administration.

Keep in mind, it took them over a week of (poorly) evading questions on the matter to develop this barely passable narrative.

It’s almost odd that the wiretapping story has stuck around for as long as it has — a story carrying weight for over a week has been rare during the Trump presidency. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest the administration strategically used the scandal to distract from more negative stories, such as their ongoing Russian woes, where the smoke has recently gone from bonfire to forest fire proportions.

However, along with Russia, there are more critical issues to hone in on, such as the GOP’s lackluster replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office has projected would result in 14 million fewer Americans having health insurance just next year alone, according to The Washington Post.

In the face of healthcare concerns and the possible collusion of a president with a foreign power, a wiretapping scandal with no known factual basis other than a Breitbart article seems meager in comparison.

Lucky for these Americans, we may be getting to the bottom of the president’s claim soon. The Justice Department was required to hand over any evidence of Trump Tower’s wiretapping to the House Intelligence Committee by Monday. As a result, we fortunately no longer have to rely on the Trump administration to provide us with their version of the facts on the matter.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected]

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