Face it Haters: Trump Just Got Vindicated

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You just have to love it.

Just when the media thought they had President Donald Trump cornered because of his now-famous tweet that former President Obama had wiretapped him?

Well aside from the fact that the New York Times and the Washington Post published repeated stories that indicated the Obama administration had been surveilling Trump associates, now comes this word, as headlined by CNN on Wednesday afternoon in breaking news:

House Intel chairman: Trump’s personal communications may have been collected

The story by CNN’s Tom LoBianco, says, in part, this:

"House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s personal communications may have been picked up by investigators through ‘incidental collection.’

Nunes said at a news conference he discovered the potential surveillance of Trump himself while reviewing intelligence reports, but said it was not related to Russia.

‘This is a normal, incidental collection, based on what I could collect,’ Nunes said. ‘This appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under’ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Nunes said he alerted House Speaker Paul Ryan about the collection and is traveling to the White House Wednesday afternoon.

‘I’m actually alarmed by it,’ Nunes said.

Later in the day, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Nunes made clear that the subject matter in the newly discovered Trump surveillance had nothing whatsoever to do with Russia.

Trump feels ‘somewhat’ vindicated after Nunes intel briefing
Trump feels ‘somewhat’ vindicated after Nunes intel briefing
ommunications of Donald Trump’s transition officials — possibly including the incoming president himself — may have been scooped up in legal surveillance but then improperly distributed throughout the intelligence community, the chairman of the House intelligence committee said Wednesday.

In fact, it appeared the surveillance could well have covered nothing more than the day-to-day business of the presidential transition in the months of November and December of 2016 and January of 2017.

Well now.

After seemingly endless days of reports saying that President Trump had made all this up, now comes no less than the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to say not only that Trump’s "personal communications may have been picked up by investigators" and widely disseminated across the Obama administration but that he, Nunes, was "actually alarmed" by what he found.

In short?

It is now more than crystal clear that in fact someone or someone plural in the Obama administration was surveilling the President’s political opponent.

Worse still, this surveillance was occurring after that opponent was by then not merely a political opponent but the President-elect of the United States.

For weeks the New York Times and Washington Post had been headlining the fact that there were unknown people inside the Obama administration who were leaking classified information about various named and unnamed "Trump associates" and alleged ties to Russia.

Fight over Russia probe renewed after Intel chief spying claims
Fight over Russia probe renewed after Intel chief spying claims
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’ comments led the committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, to renew his party’s calls for an independent probe of Trump campaign links to Russia in addition to the GOP-led panel’s investigation.

The leaking of which is a federal crime that can result in both prison time and a fine. Among the headlines were these:

The New York Times on Jan 19:

Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates

"WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump….

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit…"

The very next day, Jan. 20, the Times had this front-page, above-the-fold headline:

Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides

In this story the Times reported that "… wiretapped communications had been provided to the (Obama) White House."

On Feb. 9, The Washington Post reported this:

"Nine current and former (Obama administration) officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters."

By March 2, the Washington Post was citing the Wall Street Journal as noting that during the Obama administration there had been "a wide-ranging U.S. counterintelligence investigation into possible communications between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russian operatives."

In other words? In other words it is now clearly a fact that members of the Obama administration were leaking classified intelligence to the news media, specifically the New York Times and the Washington Post.

And now, per Chairman Nunes, we learn that Trump and members of the Trump transition team were in fact surveilled – and the subject matter was apparently the humdrum of routine American politics and government with nothing, say again nothing, to do with Russia.

Doubtless there will be more news coming on all of this. That news will quickly eclipse news like, well, ahem, my own alleged "tough night" on CNN suggesting that

I did indeed have reason to see the charges that Trump had lied "differently."

But whatever else it already is now perfectly clear – per the breaking news from the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (not to mention the Times and the Post) – that President Trump has been vindicated. He and his team were in fact surveilled by the Obama administration.

That surveillance had nothing to do with Russia. And in fact, when Nunes was asked directly if the President had been "spied on" the Chairman replied that "clearly I have a concern."

As well he should – not to mention the rest of us.

Please pass the popcorn.

Jeffrey Lord, of Camp Hill, is a CNN commentator and occasional PennLive Opinion contributor.