Donald Trump, hardly a student of history, would benefit from a broader understanding of presidential scandals – because as far the Republican is concerned, he keeps finding new Watergates behind every corner.
According to the current president, Uranium One, for example, is Watergate. So is the non-existent wiretapping of Trump Tower. Benghazi, Trump has assured us, is “bigger than Watergate.” What’s more, Joe Arpaio’s investigation into Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Trump wrote in 2012, “could dwarf Watergate.”
In March, the president said the Justice Department’s investigation into his campaign is “bigger than Watergate,” and yesterday, worked up by something he saw in conservative media, Trump added that the FBI had an “informant” in his political operation, which he said is – you guessed it – “bigger than Watergate!”
Maybe he can’t think of any other controversies from history worth referencing?
Regardless, Trump continued to play with his new conspiracy theory this morning.
President Donald Trump on Friday quoted a claim that the Department of Justice put a “spy” inside his presidential campaign as part of an effort to “frame” him for “crimes” he “didn’t commit.”
“ ‘Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit,’” Trump wrote in a tweet Friday morning, quoting Fox Business Network anchor David Asman. He also tagged FBN anchor Lou Dobbs and Fox News Channel anchor Gregg Jarrett. He added, “Really bad stuff!”
The president added soon after that he thinks this may be the “all time biggest political scandal,” which might be more compelling if (a) his latest claims weren’t so dubious, and (b) all of the other times Trump said he’d uncovered the all-time biggest political scandal hadn’t turned out to be nonsense.
For what it’s worth, Rudy Giuliani – somehow, still the president’s lawyer – added this morning that he had a secret source about a possible Justice Department informant who was embedded in Trump’s presidential campaign, but as the Washington Post noted, Giuliani “admitted that he and the president do not know if that’s true or not.”
I don’t know, Rudy, Trump seems pretty convinced.
Media Matters did a nice job unpacking the story, explaining the background of the president’s new theory, and the Washington Post noted how Trump’s latest push relates to the Republican push to expose an FBI source – a move U.S. intelligence officials insist would create a highly dangerous risk.
As the story continues to unfold, and the president continues to throw occasional tantrums, there is one detail that’s worth keeping in mind: as we discussed two months ago, if federal law enforcement embedded some kind of “spy” in Trump’s political operation as part of a scheme to derail the Republican’s candidacy, wouldn’t there have been some kind of pre-election disclosure to voters that there was an investigation into Trump’s campaign?
Because headed into Election Day 2016, Americans had heard quite a bit about the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails, but the electorate had no idea that Trump World was facing a far more serious investigation.
It’s almost as if the idea that the FBI hatched some kind of scheme to undermine Trump’s candidacy is ridiculous on its face.