TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: What happens when you can no longer denounce your political opponents as Russian spies? You call them “white nationalists” instead. It’s every bit as stupid and slanderous, and even more effective in shutting them up. But what does it do the country when you whip up hatred and fear like that? We’ll tell you, just ahead.
But first tonight, attorney general William Barr has finally confirmed what has been obvious for months: The Obama administration spied on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Nothing like this has happened in modern American history. Barr dropped the news almost in passing, during testimony before Congress this morning:
BARR: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal, a big deal.
SHAHEEN: So you are not suggesting though that spying occurred?
BARR: Well, I guess -- I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. ... I am not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated but I need to explore that.
There’s no disputing Barr’s first point: Spying on a presidential campaign is a big deal, especially when it was authorized by a rival administration. Imagine if, a year from now, the Trump administration allowed the FBI to surveil officials in the Kamala Harris for president campaign. Imagine if, when caught, Trump pointed to opposition research generated by the RNC as justification for that surveillance. How would the media react to that? Like it was a major, jaw-dropping scandal. And this show would heartily agree. We wouldn’t defend it. Law enforcement should never be used as a partisan political tool, no matter who it benefits.
But the media doesn’t feel that way about Obama’s spying. They refuse to admit it was even spying. Professional dumb person, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, attacked the attorney general for daring to bring up the topic at all. She called Barr “Trump’s toad.” CNN, meanwhile, assured it’s viewers that there is “little evidence” that spying occurred. But that’s a lie. There is plenty of evidence. We’ve had it for months. In 2016 and 2017, the FBI wiretapped Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. Former Trump aide Carter Page was spied on extensively, even though it was obvious from day one that he wasn’t a Russian spy. Last year, we learned that the FBI used an informant to feed them information from inside the Trump campaign. This is all spying. There’s no other word for it. When Trump complained about it, Democrats and their employees in the media called him a liar:
ADAM SCHIFF: there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the trump campaign
DON LEMON: His baseless claims of spies.
JEFFREY TOOBIN: The so-called spy issue, first of all, there's absolutely no evidence there was a spy. So, it's really a fake issue.
DAVID CORN: This phony baloney story about a spy in the campaign. (edit) To call them a conspiracy theory is to give them too much credit. Just fake facts.
ERIN BURNETT: All the other people who've seen the intelligence in your own party are saying there's just no there-there. I'm wondering what it will take for you, Congressman Zeldin, to say he's full of it.
He lied. He’s crazy. It’s a “conspiracy theory.” As it turns out, there was in fact a conspiracy to hide the truth. But Trump wasn’t leading it. Jim Clapper was:
JOY BEHAR: Was the FBI spying on Trump's campaign?
JAMES CLAPPER: No, they were not. They were spying on, a term I don't particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing, trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence. It's what they do.
JOY BEHAR: So, why doesn't he like that? He should be happy about that?
CLAPPER: He should be.
Got that? The Obama administration wasn’t spying. They were just watching him without his knowledge. On behalf of the opposing party. In the closing months of a bitter presidential campaign. No big deal. Trump ought to be grateful for it. The Obama people cared enough to surveil his staff. They’re patriotic that way. Big hearted people.
Come on. There’s got to be a limit to how much lying a country can take from its leaders. We’re definitely reached ours. Russian collusion didn’t happen. Domestic spying did. We have a right to know who participated in it, who authorized it and what their motives were. We have have a right to know that immediately, right now, without redactions. This country doesn’t belong to retired Obama staffers, intel agency heads and mindless CNN contributors. It’s a democracy. We ought to act like it.