One of the most appalling torture techniques I can think of includes being forced to listen to conservative shock jock Mark Levin 24 hours a day. His nasally, hateful invective is so grating to the human ear that it would take less than a day for any normal person to fold and insist on death. I would rather spend a year on a desert island with Sarah Palin than be forced to spend an afternoon with Mark Levin -- a man so dedicated to spreading nastiness and intolerance that it is a wonder he hasn't keeled over from a self induced aneurysm.
It isn't really surprising that the latest insane right wing conspiracy theory about President Obama is coming from someone as removed from reality as Levin, but the fact that the the current President of the United States is now listening to it makes it all the more alarming.
In his latest attempt to blame liberals for Trump's ongoing meltdown in office, Levin has been banging the drums for an investigation into a completely baseless claim that the Obama Justice Department had orchestrated a “silent coup” against the President. Levin claimed that the DOJ had wiretapped the Trump Tower and spied on Trump's campaign when it was investigating potential Russian interference in the election. On his radio show Levin also stated that Obama had leaked information to the press to "undermine the new president".
On Fox and Friends this past weekend, Levin declared that the evidence for the supposed wiretapping is "overwhelming". And the actual evidence for all of this? Basically, nothing.
Far right hate site Breitbart.com published an in depth, supposedly sourced rundown of the claims Levin cited, but unsurprisingly they turned out to be complete nonsense. Breitbart offered these two data points that supposedly support the claims Trump has been tweeting about all weekend (and no, we don't link to Breitbart):
June 2016: FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.
October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.
To the untrained observer, this appears to be legitimate and damning. But of course this is Mark Levin and Breitbart.com we are talking about, sources that are about as reliable as an Amtrak train. As the Washington Post reported:
These data points are not based on reporting by Breitbart. Instead, Breitbart links to a report that appeared in Heat Street, another right-leaning news organization: “EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia.” It was written by Louise Mensch, a former Tory member of the British Parliament and an independent journalist. This is one of the news reports identified by the White House, and it’s the most important one.
This article claimed: “Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”
Mensch claimed that the warrant was related to an FBI investigation of a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to two Russian banks — an investigation that apparently went nowhere.
“The FISA warrant was granted in connection with the investigation of suspected activity between the server [in Trump Tower] and two banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. However, it is thought in the intelligence community that the warrant covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates,” Mensch wrote....
The Washington Post for months has sought to confirm this report of a FISA warrant related to the Trump campaign but has been unable to do so. Presumably, other major news organizations have tried to do so as well. So one has to take this claim with a huge dose of skepticism. Indeed, the New York Times reported before the election that the FBI “ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts” with the Russian banks.
Furthermore, the BBC report on the FISA warrant cited by the White House as a source doesn't actually mention Trump at all:
Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the FISA order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities — in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offense.
The Post summarized Levin and Breitbart's claims as follows:
Only one article, with British roots, reported that a FISA court order was granted in October to examine possible activity between two Russian banks and a computer server in the Trump Tower. This claim has not been confirmed by U.S. news organizations. Moreover, no article says that Obama requested the order or that it resulted in the tapping of Trump’s phone lines. The server, in fact, may not have even been in Trump Tower.
The FBI also believes the claims to be completely baseless, with Director James Comey asking the DOJ to publicly refute Trump's wiretapping claim (via the Huff Post):
Comey said that Trump’s claim, which he tweeted early on Saturday without offering any evidence, “is false and must be corrected,” according to unnamed U.S. officials who spoke with the [New York] Times. The Justice Department, led by Trump-nominated Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has not done so yet.
So basically, a baseless rumor started by a rightwing blowhard who believes liberalism primary agenda is to "disfigure and mangle the constitutional order," and president Obama governed with "a dictator’s mentality", has now made it all the way to the White House and may now result in an actual investigation. This is not normal, and every sane person in America needs to stand up and put an end to this utter madness.