Republicans continue to prove that they’re all in for President Donald Trump, corruption and all. This Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing focused on a recent report from the Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz, who concluded that political bias had not affected the substance of the Russia investigation. During that hearing, among other GOP outbursts, as he and his colleagues faced looming evidence against their political positions, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) promptly devolved into shouting about supposed government spying on the Trump campaign, which, in reality, simply did not happen.
In reality, the government carried out duly proceeding surveillance on occasional Trump adviser Carter Page (and a much wider investigation of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who served with the eventual president’s team for months.) There was no nefarious spying plot.
Nevertheless, Cruz shouted at Horowitz:
‘It’s interesting seeing Democratic senators wanting to defend this abuse of power. Senator Feinstein said the FBI didn’t place spies in the Trump campaign. Senator Leahy said something similar.’
‘Well this may be true, not spies in the Trump campaign, but reading from your report — in particular, page four of the executive summary — your report says that thereafter the crossfire hurricane team used the intrusive techniques including confidential human sources to interact and consensually record multiple conversations with Page and [George] Papadopoulos both before and after they were working for the Trump campaign as well as on one occasion with a high-level Trump campaign official who was not the subject of the investigation. So they didn’t place spies in the campaign, but they sent spies to record senior members of the campaign in the middle of a presidential campaign when that was the nominee for the other major party that was the opposing party to the one in power.’
Wrong. Cruz’s belligerent assertion that the Obama administration carried out some kind of targeted spying campaign against the Trump campaign as an entity remains flatly baseless.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) December 11, 2019
Authorities were targeting suspected collaborators with Russian intelligence services, who at the time, were carrying out a meddling campaign targeting U.S. elections. If a senior Trump campaign official happened to associate with those targets, that’s their problem. That doesn’t erase the fact that according to credible sources like Horowitz, there’s still no evidence of some kind of deep state plot against Trump driving the Russia investigation.
Trump has infamously even claimed all the way back during 2017, in the months after his own inauguration as president, that President Barack Obama had personally demanded a wiretap of Trump Tower — and at no point in all of the time since that assertion has anyone turned up any evidence in support of that conspiracy. This week, Horowitz even told Congress that his team had not uncovered any evidence that Obama had personally been involved in any capacity in investigations involving the Trump campaign.
The president’s supporters have already lashed out against Horowitz’s conclusions outside of this context. Despite his team having reviewed more than one million documents — more than one million! — Attorney General Bill Barr still insisted that the Russia investigation was run on lies. At this point, they don’t even care about the lack of evidence.