Trump appears to think he can dissuade Congress from investigating him and his associates for their involvement with Russia. Evidently, he believes it would be in his best interest to cast suspicion elsewhere.
In a blatant case of misdirection, the president used Twitter to begin spreading rumors about another person, who, he claims is a Russophile. In a second, and seemingly desperate, attempt to cast a favorable light upon himself, Trump claimed he was a victim of wiretapping.
Senator Chuck Schumer Schmoozing With Vladimir Putin?
Trump’s first accusation was against Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who, the president claims, was seen cavorting with Russians and should be investigated. On Friday, March 3, 2017, the president misdirected his proponents citing a photo taken in 2003.
In the picture, the senator and Vladimir Putin are seen drinking coffee, eating donuts, and appear to be engaged in a lively conversation. Trump’s tweet said that “we” should immediately launch an inquiry into their relationship. Then, the president added that Schumer was a hypocrite.
Blame Barack Obama of Wiretapping Instead
When the Schumer-Putin scandal failed to take hold, the president added another possible target for Congress on March 4. He pointed his finger at former President Obama. This time, making another blatant attempt at misdirection, the president boldly accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump’s New York residence/offices.
POTUS managed to ignite a firestorm when he lodged this complaint. Trump’s series of tweets offered no evidence supporting his indictment that the former president was guilty of wiretapping. One read:
Is it legal for a sitting president to be “wiretapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
Less than 24 hours later, Sean Spicer announced the White House requested a full congressional investigation into the wiretapping allegations against the Obama administration. Apparently, President Trump is telling Congress to address the supposed abuse of power by the executive branch but will not offer any evidence to support his wiretapping claims.
Spicer argued that there are disturbing reports about “politically motivated” investigations during the recent campaign cycle. Like his boss, the press secretary did not disclose any sources substantiating the wiretapping allegations, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Former President Obama Responds to Wiretapping Accusation
On March 5, Obama responded to the explosive charges of wiretapping President Trump’s New York offices, an act that the president verbally equated with the Nixon-Watergate scandal. Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, denied Trump’s claim.
In the statement, Lewis indicated wiretapping was against Obama’s “cardinal rule” of the White House interfering in matters best left to the Department of Justice. Moreover, Obama never requested surveillance of any American citizen, nor did he ask the White House to do so.
Lewis denied there was any validity to the claim that Obama used his power to conduct wiretapping against Donald Trump. He said, any claims to the contrary, simply were not true.
Intelligence Officials Refute Wiretapping Claims
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under Obama, stated he had no knowledge of wiretapping surveillance taking place at Trump Tower, either before or after the election. The Los Angeles Times reported Clapper explanation:
If a warrant for such surveillance had been obtained by the FBI under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, ‘I would know that.’
Other intelligence officials indicate they doubt Trump’s assertations about wiretapping. One said it is highly unlikely. Another proclaimed the idea is unthinkable.
Wiretapping cannot be directed at any citizen “without finding probable cause that the phone lines or Internet addresses were being used by agents of a foreign power — or by someone spying for or acting on behalf of a foreign government,” according to The Washington Post. It simply is not done, the official added.
President Trump a Compulsive Misdirector
The simple definition of misdirection is intentional action or process of deceiving someone by giving incorrect information. In President Trump’s case, pointing his finger at a person or group, such as the senator or to accuse the former president and his administration of wiretapping, is one of his compulsive coping tools.
Another word for misdirection is gaslight as explained by Preston Ni M.S.B.A. courtesy of Psychology Today.
Gaslighting statements and accusations are usually based on blatant lies or exaggeration of the truth.
President Trump has shown that he loves to be the center of attention. In daily rants, he uses Twitter to enlighten his fans by giving them distorted facts, otherwise known as fake news.
Unfortunately, when he finds himself in the hot seat, as with the Russian affiliation inquiries, Trump uses blatant gaslighting or misdirection techniques while attempting to duck out of focus.
For example, accusing former President Obama and his administration of committing the illegal act of wiretapping without evidence is an extraordinary lie. In doing so, POTUS is emotionally manipulating citizens, causing undue stress by twisting the truth and creating fear by exploiting the trust of those who believe in him.
Psychology Today uses a quote from Paramahansa Yogananda to illustrate why the president accuses others of criminal behavior. “Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.”
By Cathy Milne
CNBC News: Trump prods Schumer, Pelosi over old Russian meetings; Schumer says he’ll ‘happily’ talk it over
The Washington Post: Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of ‘Nixon/Watergate’ plot to wiretap Trump Tower
NBC News: White House Asks Congress To Investigate Whether Obama ‘Abused’ Powers
Los Angeles Times: White House, still offering no evidence, demands investigation of whether Obama abused executive power
Psychology Today: 8 Signs You’re in a Relationship With a Gaslighter
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