Former President Barack Obama was ‘livid’ over President Donald Trump’s accusation he illegally wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Obama had decided he wouldn't respond to every intemperate Trump tweet," an aide said. "But he was livid over the accusation that he bugged the Republican campaign offices," sources familiar with Obama's thinking told the Journal. According to the report, he believes Trump's charge calls into question the credibility of both the office of the president and Obama himself.
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said Trump is violating an “almost unwritten rule that you treat your predecessor with a degree of grace and decorum.”
“There are these kinds of things that have happened in the past, but nothing to the degree where a sitting president would charge his predecessor with a felony,” Brinkley told the Journal.
Trump made the explosive and unsubstantiated claim Saturday in a series of early-morning tweets charging his predecessor with “Nixon/Watergate”-style wiretapping of Trump Tower in New York City.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1488627320.0
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!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1488628140.0
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1488628374.0
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1488628968.0
In a statement Saturday, Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis categorically denied that the former president interfered with any potential investigation into then-candidate Trump.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Lewis said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Trump’s anti-Obama rhetoric, and the former president’s reaction, are indicative of a growing rift between the 44th and 45th president of the United States. Despite Obama offering his counsel and advice to Trump during the transition, the president now thinks his predecessor is targeting him and his administration.
Trump confidant, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy told the Journal, “Trump’s people think Obama is at war with them.”
“The president has been under siege since Day Once from both the press and Obama loyalists and he’s reacting to it,” Ruddy said.
Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal.