Fox host Tucker Carlson is scheduled to interview President Donald Trump for an interview to air tonight on Fox News. The interview comes after Carlson legitimized Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower -- an assertion that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has rejected. Carlson has admitted that Trump’s claim was not “literally accurate,” but called it “plausible” and said there was “a lot of evidence” supporting it.
Tucker Carlson To Interview Trump
Carlson To Interview Trump In Detroit. Fox News announced on March 13 that Tucker Carlson will interview Trump in what the network called “a wide-ranging conversation” while Trump is visiting Detroit, MI, according to TheWrap. The interview is scheduled to air on March 15. [TheWrap, 3/13/17]
Interview Comes As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Knocks Down Trump’s Wiretap Lie
House Intelligence Committee Chairman: No Evidence For Trump’s Wiretap Claim. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he didn’t have “any evidence” for Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, according to CNN. From the March 15 article:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said he does not believe Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped him, but said it's possible Trump communications may have been gathered in “incidental” intelligence collection.
“I don't believe Trump Tower was tapped,” Nunes told reporters Wednesday.
“We don't have any evidence that that took place and in fact I don't believe -- just in the last week of time, the people we've talked to -- I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes said at a news conference, in reference to the baseless claim originally made by Trump several weeks ago.
Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said they want to see any evidence of wiretapping by their March 20 hearing or they may issue a subpoena for the records.[CNN.com, 3/15/17]
Current And Former Government Officials Have Also Debunked Trump’s Claim. Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper told NBC that “for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.” FBI Director James Comey “asked the Justice Department … to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion,” according to The New York Times. And a spokesman for Obama said that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.” [Media Matters, 3/6/17]
Carlson Has Repeatedly Legitimized Trump’s False Claim
Carlson: Trump’s Wiretap Claim “Is Plausible.” Carlson, discussing Trump’s claim, said the “U.S. government spying on its own citizens is a long-standing fact” and a “huge problem,” adding that although “Twitter is not the way to raise this issue,” Trump’s claim “is plausible.” From the March 6 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): What do you make of the president saying Obama wiretapped him? There’s a suggestion that it probably has to do with that FISA investigation in June and October. And now the mainstream media has had a complete meltdown with their hair on fire right now. If you -- yeah, I smell hair on fire in New York City.
TUCKER CARLSON: This is the most frustrating story I've seen in a long time. I was just talking to Gavin, our producer, through the line. I’m so spun-up about it for a couple of reasons. This is a real problem. The U.S. government spying on its own citizens is a long-standing fact. It's a huge problem, and it's clouded by deceit and evasion. Just here's one fact. We don't know how many Americans have their communications swept up by the U.S. government and surveilled because the intelligence agencies won't tell us. Not only will they not tell us, they won't tell the Congress, which is supposed to provide oversight to them. They’ve been asked directly, and they said, “We don’t know and we’re not going to find out.” So this is an infuriating problem. We know for a fact that the national security adviser, when he was a private citizen, before the inauguration, was surveilled by the FBI and that that was leaked. That's a felony. We know this stuff happens, and we know that it has a corrosive effect on government and our civic life, and yet we're not debating it at all -- partly because Twitter is not the way to raise this issue. And partly because the Democrats don't want to talk about it. But I guess the bottom line is, yes, this is plausible. We need to find out exactly what happened, and it doesn’t seem like we’re moving in the direction of finding out. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/6/17]
Carlson: “There Is A Lot Of Evidence” Of The U.S. Intelligence Community “Spying On The President Or The Presidential Candidate Or His Staff During A Campaign.” Discussing Trump’s wiretap claim with Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Carlson claimed that although Trump’s wiretap claim was not “literally accurate,” “there is a lot of evidence” of the “intelligence community … spying on the president or the presidential candidate or his staff during a campaign.” From the March 6 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So let's just get right to the nub of it, right to the president's allegation about the intelligence community. You sit on the oversight committee, so you have knowledge. Does the U.S. intelligence community have any information, any communications originating in Trump Tower or to Trump Tower in its possession right now?
REP. JIM HIMES: I don't know the answer to that question, and I suspect that if I did, I probably couldn't talk about it on television. One thing that is for sure, though, and the nub of it is, if they do, it would have been pursuant to a warrant issued by a judge, not by the command of President Obama.
CARLSON: You’re speaking to whether or not the president's tweet was literally accurate, and it wasn't. But the larger question is whether -- it wasn’t. But the larger question is --
HIMES: I’m not sure that’s beside the point, but --
CARLSON: Well, no, because I think the average person is wondering, could it be that the United States intelligence community is spying on the president or the presidential candidate or his staff during a campaign?
HIMES: No, that could not be.
CARLSON: Really? Because it looks like they were. And there’s a lot of evidence that they were.
HIMES: No, first of all, there’s no evidence -- there's absolutely no evidence that there were. And people who would be in a position to know, like FBI Director [James] Comey, apparently wants to tell the world that, the former DNI, the director of national intelligence, said no, that’s not true. And in fact, as you know, the White House has produced exactly zero evidence. The one institution that could come out with some evidence because the president can call the head of the NSA, the head of the CIA, the head of the FBI into the office and say, “Tell me whether this is true or not.” And they have not done that.
CARLSON: You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. But it doesn't change the fact that they were, in fact, conducting surveillance, DOJ and FBI, of the president's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, during the campaign. That's not really disputed. [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/6/17]
Carlson: “We Know That People Around Trump Were Surveilled By The U.S. Government.” Discussing Trump’s wiretap claim with former Fox News anchor Brit Hume, Carlson said, “We know that people around Trump were surveilled by the U.S. government,” and asked, “What prevents the White House from getting to the bottom of this fairly quickly in presenting the evidence?” From the March 7 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): So really quickly, to the wiretapping question, we know that people around Trump were surveilled by the U.S. government, Michael Flynn maybe among others. The president is in charge of the CIA. They're his employees; he's their supervisor. I don't -- what prevents the White House from getting to the bottom of this fairly quickly in presenting the evidence? [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 3/7/16]