In his "Talking Points Memo" show on Monday, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly said that the "alleged conspiracy" that President Donald Trump tweeted of former President Barack Obama wiretapping him before the election is so unsubstantiated by evidence that it is now hurting his presidency.
"The House Intelligence Committee spent a few hours talking with FBI Chief James Comey and NSA boss Admiral Mike Rogers," O'Reilly began. "It was clear from the beginning that there was a political agenda, as there always is. Republican Congress people wanting to know about the leakers, people within government giving classified information to reporters. That was their top concern."
"On the Democratic side, it was the Obama tap," O'Reilly explained, "the allegation that President Trump tweeted out. At this point, after today's testimony, there is absolutely no evidence President Obama tapped the Trump Tower. But today, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said there will be more tap information forthcoming. especially about the Gen. [Mike] Flynn situation."
"Now, the fair thing here is to be fair," he advised, "avoid speculation, but skepticism on this issue is warranted. In addition to the tapped business, Democrats zeroed in on two former members of the Trump campaign, hoping to link them with the Russians."
First was a man named Roger Stone, who worked for Mr. Trump for two months in 2015. He was a consultant. Second was Paul Manafort, who worked for The Trump campaign for approximately five months, but did have a powerful position as campaign chairman. Democrats insinuated that both men were involved in some kind of corrupt scheme but the admiral and Mr. Comey would not take the bait, saying the investigation is ongoing, and what they cannot comment. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
O'Reilly said he would be surprised if anything comes of the Russian investigation, but claimed that this was the reason Trump made his claim against Obama, out of anger.
"However, that controversy is what drove President Trump to accuse President Obama," O'Reilly claimed. "Mr. Trump is so infuriated that the media has obsessed on the Russian connection that he lashed out, trying to create a firestorm over the Obama administration's surveillance history. The problem is, there is no evidence that anything happened at the Trump Tower. There is evidence that the Obama administration surveilled journalists and even the German chancellor, but that does not go to President Trump's point."
The accusation that President Obama was actively involved in harming the Trump campaign has no harm to the president himself.
"He needs the American people to focus on the economy," O'Reilly counseled, "the new health care proposal, border security, not alleged conspiracies. In the future, the president would be wise to embrace only facts in his pronouncements. The issue of leaks, of course, is of vital importance, but both Comey and Rogers acknowledge that today. It was instructive to see that no Democrat on the House committee really zeroed in on the leaks."
"The issue of leaks, of course, is of vital importance." Watch today's @oreillyfactor "Talking Points Memo." #oreillyfactorpic.twitter.com/JMVEBJWlcB
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 21, 2017
"'Talking points' expects — expects," O'Reilly repeated for emphasis, "the FBI to find out, not only who leaked stuff about Gen. Flynn and the Russian ambassador, but also who violated the White House protocol of putting out the president's conversations with the prime ministers of Australia and the prime minister of Mexico. If the FBI cannot do that, cannot arrest the leakers, this country is in major trouble."
"Summing up," he concluded, "Republicans want to get away from the tapping, Democrats continue to peddle the Russia-Trump campaign situation."
[graphiq id="6Pu4LSWg4F7" title="Poll: How Do You Feel About Government Surveillance?" width="600" height="654" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/6Pu4LSWg4F7" ]
Previous to this, O'Reilly had announced on his show that the wiretapping issue had been settled, but the Trump administration persisted in defending the accusation. Just the day prior, Trump himself told Tucker Carlson that the administration would be presenting their evidence of the wiretapping to Congress.