Trump Asks If It's Legal For Obama To Wiretap Him... Here's The Answer

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Rachel Stockman of,

If you woke up Saturday morning scratching your head as to what the heck President Donald Trump was talking about when he tweeted that Obama had his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before his victory, you are not alone.

So what happened?

The best that we can tell, Trump is referring to a Breitbart article which was published Friday night that makes reference to attempts by U.S. intelligence agencies to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The interesting thing is that this isn’t a new development. In fact, several outlets including Mother JonesThe Guardian, The National Review, and Heat Street have been reporting on this alleged activity over the last couple of months.

Here is the best summary we could find of the Obama administration’s efforts to wiretap Trump associates. From a January 11, 2017 Guardian article:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation

Trump then questions in a Tweet on Saturday morning if this is legal and even makes analogies to Nixon/Watergate.


So is it legal?

While the analogies to Watergate are totally misplaced (as that involved an illegal break-in), the underlying questions about the legality of these wiretaps are indeed important ones. So far, there is no indication that the Obama administration acted “illegally” if they did indeed intercept communications from Trump Tower.

“The problem with the President’s question is that the standards for FISA are so low and easily satisfied (with little judicial review) that it is difficult to establish any illegality under the law,” wrote George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley.

The FISA procedures were put in place in the aftermath of the Nixon-era scandals. To obtain a FISA warrant, the government needs to demonstrate probable cause that the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.” On top of that, the agents must prove that the main purpose of the surveillance is to obtain “foreign intelligence information.”

“It is true that, if the target is a ‘U.S. person’ there must be probable cause to believe that the U.S. person’s activities may involve espionage or other similar conduct in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States. However, citizens can be collateral to the primary target under FISA,” Turley explained.

So bottom line: if the Obama administration intelligence agents followed the proper protocols, had evidence, got approved by Main Justice, and presented their application to a FISA judge, and were approved, it is likely that any wiretapping was legal under U.S. law.

“Well, putting aside there is no indication Trump himself was the target of the FISA warrant (it appears to have been aimed at four of his associates), yes, it CAN be legally done,” Bradley Moss, an attorney and national security expert explained to

Would President Obama have to sign off on this FISA warrant as Trump implies?

No, not necessarily. Under the law, the warrant application needs to be signed off by the Attorney General. So based on the timing of these applications if the reports are true, it is likely that Loretta Lynch knew about them and approved them.

“The President can technically request the warrant but it still has to go through the process. Obama couldn’t authorize it on his own. The AG still has to sign off and the FISA judge still has to authorize the warrant,” Moss explained.

Trump is right that if the warrant involved four of his aides, some of his communications may have been intercepted too, and perhaps what happened warrants further investigation.

“If somehow several people in DOJ all got together and were asked to fabricate evidence to present to the FISA judge that would be illegal,” Moss explained. “But so far that is not what we are hearing happened.”

Turley further adds, “There is provisions stating that a U.S. person cannot be surveilled ‘solely upon the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.’ Thus, if Trump aides were targeted for political reasons, the surveillance would be unlawful even under the dubious protections of FISA.”

This matter is probably deserving of further investigation, but so far, there is no indication of anything illegal.

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DirtySanchez's picture

And the lying jew author wants us to believe bozo the fucking dimwit had no idea Trump phones and data were surveiled.
Fuck you, jew garbage.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) DirtySanchez Mar 4, 2017 9:28 PM

This wiretap and the DOJ slush fund that Sessions found, where Obama gave billions to left wing groups like La Raza

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

You are the president now Donald. Wire tap him back. And throw Hillary and Podesta in prison while you are at it.

svayambhu108's picture

Tyler Dudes please spare your international audience with all this Trump TV 

So Close's picture

How about some evidence.  Heavy claim... bring it.

Hunter S. Thompson's picture

Anyone remember Donald Trump saying: 'No computer is safe,' so use a courier instead.?

prime american's picture
prime american (not verified) Son of Loki Mar 5, 2017 4:58 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

vissfam's picture

shove the money up your ass?

Offthebeach's picture

"If you can't trust Loretta Lynch who can you trust?"


John Mitchell

Evil Peanut's picture

Obama passed legislation in 2009 to increase wiretapping powers, here is the NYT article phelating the almighty



You are welcome

Trucker Glock's picture

That article is about Bush and was written before Obama was inaugurated.  Obama isn't even mentioned.

And Presidents don't pass legislation.

laser's picture

Everybody is tapped all the time.

Hydesrevenge's picture

Even money the evidence was Mcstains Dossier, acquired from the mysterios MI6 chap.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

So ... it says "Trump" right there in the title of the article summary on the ZH main page.  Then you clicked on that and went to the article page with "Trump" in the headline again.  Then you scrolled down and left a comment saying you don't want to read about Trump.

spag's picture

its frigging hilarious, the hillbillies coming here to jerk off over trump on a daily basis. when will they realise that they had a choice of electing clinton the dog shit or trump the cat shit as president and ended up with a shit for president.

Nobody For President's picture

Clue that most international audience people get:

If the headline indicates Trump content, as this one does, 


You are welcome.

Hulk's picture

Just throw him in jail, that way they will be listening to all his calls anyway !!!

Son of Loki's picture

This explains why the Dems and DNC have been furiously trying to distract everyone from their illegal activites.


Their criminality is now in the spotlight...the light of day.

goober's picture

BIngo, it is all about the Dems criminality and they know they can be prosecuted for many crimes that were covered up. They thought Hillary was a shoe in and they ramped up their criminality in the last year and now they are desperate as a motherfucker. Take the gloves off and prosecute the whole gang , this is war and nothing less !

blown income's picture

Hey lgb on a q  go lick some pussy will ya

QuantumEasing's picture

Would be interesting to see how this butts up against the law against tampering with an election.

crossroaddemon's picture

You'd have to be able to prove that it was politically motivated. I'd bet anything you like the warrant is written in such a way as to cover all necessary asses.

QuantumEasing's picture

Open and shut that it was politically motivated. Unless the entire chain of custody for the FISA warrant was either nonpartisan or R.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Of course he knew.

But he didn’t order it, legally speaking. And he didn’t try to stop either.

Now we have to wait from DOJ and FBI. And if anyone in the Congress and/or Senate knew as well.

So, it looks that the intelligence community has five ways left now. I wonder what the last option is…..or maybe not.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways at getting back at you,”—Chuck Schumer


NurseRatched's picture

I agree.
There is more than one Lois Lerner working for the Federal Government who thought Obama was God. Obama did not have to sign-off on the dirty deeds in order for the apostles to take action.

j0nx's picture

Yeah and we are supposed to believe that Barry didn't know anything about this and that it wasn't done strictly to try and get an edge up in the election. Pull the other one Barry. Time to start arresting seditious democrats.

stocker84's picture

Chuck is a liar... If he said 6 he's exaggerating.

Probably means 1

I hope this doesn't make him cry. Truth hurts, bitches.

Escrava Isaura's picture

It has to be at least two. Or maybe three, if giving up counts.


East Indian's picture

Only two: 

1. Blackmail

2. Murder

nmewn's picture

Ya know the thing with Chuck's advice to Trump is, that whole apparatus can and will be turned on Chuck himself.

Forewarned is forearmed, Chuckie ;-)

crossroaddemon's picture

It doesn't matter who knew, so long as it was done according to the statutes. And it sound as if it was.

crossroaddemon's picture

Why, cus I'm saying shit you don't wanna hear and it's making you sad? Get the fuck over it. You will NEVER see Obama, Clinton, or Pelosi do a perp walk. 

StychoKiller's picture

NEVER is a looonnnnggg time! :>D

stocker84's picture

Stop hating on the Jews... It's very likely that your Savior is a Jew. 

Eyes but cannot see, much? Don't you think the plan is to include all Jews? You're falling for that?

Christ explains it well when he's being persecuted. He tells us exactly who they are. It's in the Bible. Look into it. In Genesis and in the new testament. Read up on the parable or the tares. Not the conventional explanation. 

Ears but cannot hear, much?



BigFatUglyBubble's picture

Modern day Judaism has nothing to do with the patriarchs and prophets of the old testament.  You need some Brother Nathanael.


stocker84's picture

Yes, he's not entirely correct. That's his version. Quite different than straight from Christ's words. I think I'll stick with Christ's version. But thanks anyway.


Truth hurts.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

There are tens of thousands of interpretations of the bible, hence the tens of thousands of different denominations.  Maybe yours is the right one, but probably not.

Sometimes truth feels good, Hasbara shill.

stocker84's picture

There is only one Truth. The rest is man's doing.

Good luck with your versions.

Christ says it's simple enough for a child to understand it. Didn't say it's complex enough for a man to explain it. Get it?

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

Yes, it is very simple. 

1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father

Rev 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 

Get it?


stocker84's picture

Yes, i get it... You've proved my point. They claim to be jews but they are not. So why hate on all Jews? Christ is a Jew and he came to not change one jot of the law.

Christ goes further than synagogue of Satan.. He says they are like their father... The first murderer.

Descendants of Cain. 

Who, by the way, is not mentioned in the lineage of Adam. 

Cain and Able were fraternal twins.

Able of Adam's seed... Cain?

See the parable of the tares.

Those who have eyes...



Good evening to you.

stocker84's picture

Brother Nathanael reminds me if a joke where a rabbi goes into a Catholic Church to see how the Christians have so much money coming in. So he sits in on a confessional...

Guy comes in and confesses sleeping with two married women.. Priest gives him 6 Hail Mary's and tells him to put $10 in the poor box. 

Another guy comes in confesses he slept with a married woman.. priest says say 3 hail Mary's and put$5 in the poor box.

The priest gets called away so the rabbi hears a confession .. Guy says i slept with a married woman. The rabbi says, "this week we have a 2 for 1 special, go sleep with another married woman say 6 Hail Mary's and put $10 in the poor box. "




crossroaddemon's picture

Maried women are my favorite!

InternetToughGuy's picture

1Thes2:14-15 "For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, [15] Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men;"

ich1baN's picture

You do know that before converting to Christianity in college, Brother Nathanael grew up Jewish and lived in a very avid Jewish family? Also, he is not Catholic just so you know.