CNN media reporter Brian Stelter weighs in on President Trump's accusation that the Obama administration sought warrants to surveil his campaign in the closing months of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Stelter said he doubt Trump received such information from the intel community and declared "right-wing media" is responsible for Trump making the accusation.
"Our conspiracy theory president is at it again," Stelter said Saturday on CNN. "Whenever something like this happens I wonder what are the president's sources of information? Where is he getting these ideas? It could be from intelligence briefings, classified intelligence briefings. In that case he might be sharing classified information on Twitter. However this tweet came around 6:00 in the morning. The president said he was just told about this. I highly doubt he was getting an intel briefing at 5 in the morning. He may have been receiving information these claims that don't have proof from right-wing media sources. Let me show you what I mean. This is from Thursday. The Mark Levin radio show. Levin was suggesting that President Obama and Obama's aides have been attempting a silent coup."
"He says that's the real scandal," Stelter said of Levin's commentary. "Let me show you how this echoed through conservative media. We'll show you a headline from Breitbart.com, the popular news site -- opinion site that was run by Steve Bannon, now Trump's senior strategist. The headline there is picking up on what Levin said on the radio. And then this article by Joel Pollak on Breitbart.com kicks through what it says is a series of reasons to believe the Obama administration was trying to undermine President Trump."
"There's no definitive evidence this is where the president heard about this," Stelter, however, acknowledged.
"So this comes out on Thursday," he said. "It spreads more virally on Friday. A couple of shows on FOX News picked up on this. By Friday night a couple of those were re-airing early Saturday morning. There's no definitive evidence that this is where the president heard about this. But The Washington Post's Robert Costa is hearing that that Breitbart story was passed around among Trump aides. So it's the best indication so far of where the president could be getting this conspiracy theory from."
"It is reckless," Stelter said. "And if the president doesn't know that then his aides surely know that. Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, they know this behavior is reckless."
Trump's tweets on the wiretapping accusation:
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 (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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 (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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 (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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 (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017