In the desperate scramble to provide even the thinnest credibility to Trump’s vacuous tweets claiming Obama wiretapped his phones during the Presidential campaign, Trump’s surrogates and conservative media outlets are pointing to the above New York Times headline. Trump Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the Trump tweets based on this NY Times Report. Breitbart.com, whose report appears to have set off the Trump tweets, claimed the “New York Times Trashes Its Own Reporting” when factually reporting Trump’s allegations had no support.
For all practical purposes these defenses are lies, a repurposing of The New York Times headlines to change the message of the article itself. The New York Times article never suggested Obama ordered anything, nor did it ever suggest Trump’s phones were tapped. The closest it came was to say that some “associates” of Trump were being investigated for their ties to Russia.
As for the wiretapping, the suggestion of the article was that it was not of Trump (or his phones) or even his associates, but rather various Russians that had been wiretapped. For example:
The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia. Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service.
It is unclear which Russian officials are under investigation, or what particular conversations caught the attention of American eavesdroppers.
Now, let’s compare that to Trump’s claims. Trump expressly said “President Obama was tapping my phones in October” and then added this little gem “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!.”
There is absolutely zero credible evidence that Obama tapped (or was involved in tapping) Trump’s phones. Period. Had the New York Times in January actually said what Trump claimed then it would have made a huge stink at that time. This is another dishonest Trump effort to repurpose an old story into something it never was by out of context quoting of a headline.