Talking about Monday’s events to Fox News’ Bret Baier, political analyst Brit Hume characterized President Donald Trump’s insistence on the claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him as a “continuing embarrassment” to the president.
“I think the Democrats got a talking point out of it,” Hume said of the committee testimony Monday. “They will be using and having a field day with this for a while. That being, of course, the fact that there is now an open FBI investigation, dating back to July actually, into whether there was collision between the Trump campaign and the Russians in their efforts to influence the election.”
“There’s still no real evidence that such collision existed,” he added, “but the mere fact of an FBI investigation will keep the story in the headlines for some time to come and give the Democrats something to talk about.”
“And we’ve often talked about the questioning in these hearings,” Baier asked, “and how it kinda meanders and congressmen seem to want their time in the spotlight. Your thoughts on how that went on both sides today?”
“Well, what you had was an interesting phenomenon,” Hume answered. “There were a whole bunch of questions that were asked that the members asking them certainly knew that the FBI director and the NSA director couldn’t possibly answer. But they asked the questions for the purpose of getting the premises of the questions, the allegations or the claims that were contained in the questions, into the record. And so they did that again and again.”
“I noticed even,” he continued, “that the ranking member Mr. [Adam] Schiff from California even dragged out the old idea that’s been around for a while that there was softening of a plank that was inimical to Russia that was in the Republican platform. The reporting on that has been that actually during the Republican convention that plank was actually toughened, but they’re still working on that idea anyway.”
“So there was a lot of that going on and it is very much of a piece with the hearings that I’ve covered over the years for a long time,” he concluded.
“It seemed like Representative Schiff and Representative [Trey] Gowdy were their respective point people on the questioning,” Baier observed. “What about the fact that this has been a definitive conclusive it seems answer on the wiretap tweet, both from the FBI director and the director of the NSA. And yet the White House says, ‘it’s not all finished yet.'”
“Well, what we have here is another instance,” Hume answered, “where there’s simply no evidence to support the allegation that the president made that President Obama had him wiretapped, or surveilled, if you want to use the broader term that the president now prefers.”
And as long as that’s the case, I think that it’s a continuing embarrassment and source of friction with the White House and the rest of Washington, indeed, possibly the rest of the country. Moreover, we only heard the possibility that there might be an investigation by the FBI into that matter. Which I think is, nobody seems to think that’s really happening.
“If there’s evidence of this,” he added, “I don’t know where it’s going to come from. So far, obviously, we haven’t seen any.”
“And on the flip side the investigation into the leak,” Baier said, “it looks like there’s a pretty small group of people that potentially could be leaking the information of Michael Flynn’s name as one of the people caught up in whatever surveillance there was.”
“And it’s worth noting, Bret,” Hume answered, “that in all these concurrent inquiries going on and allegations, the one instance where we know to an almost certainty that a crime was committed was in the leak of Mike Flynn’s name where apparently he was picked up in an intercept of a phone call or a conversation with some Russian or some other foreign official, apparently it was a Russian ambassador, in which his name came out.”
“And when that happens,” he concluded, “the name of the American that is caught up in something like that is never supposed to be disclosed except under extraordinary circumstances. And it happened here, and it’s pretty clear it was a crime, and so far has been the only crime that has established in all of this. And there appears to be an investigation into that as well so we’ll see how that turns out.”
FBI Director James Comey testified before a House Intelligence Committee Monday that there was no evidence to the claim from Trump that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.