Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is the man.
With the White House in turmoil amid unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping, Missourians should look to Blunt for clarity and the political courage to hold President Donald Trump accountable. Let’s hope the Republican senator meets the challenge.
Blunt serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee. As Congress probes the president’s ties to Russia and Trump’s latest allegation that his predecessor tapped his phones, Blunt will have front-row access and an opportunity to ask tough questions.
Trump believes former President Barack Obama had prying eyes on Trump Tower last year. He contends Obama had the place wiretapped in an attempt to undermine the Trump campaign.
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Incredibly, the president believes Obama was ordering up spies. Trump has offered no evidence.
The intelligence committee must sort fact from fiction. Confidence in government institutions and the presidency are at stake.
Voters of all political stripes need to know that they can count on Blunt to help establish truth. Other members of Congress from Kansas and Missouri must also play a role, but Blunt’s seat on the intelligence committee means he has a crucial responsibility.
Trump may have unwittingly waded into these deep waters. Perhaps he didn’t think beyond the 140 characters he was allowed in each of his tweets on the matter.
But in a series of micro-outbursts, Trump rolled out the Obama-as-a-spy storyline. It’s an explosive and dangerous accusation.
The president has called on congressional intelligence committees to determine whether the Obama administration abused its investigative powers.
If true — and we’ve seen no proof it is — that would mean Obama broke the law by spying on a private citizen. Or Obama presented enough evidence to convince a federal judge to approve the wiretapping. That scenario would suggest probable cause exists to implicate Trump in a serious crime or as an agent of a foreign government.
This is not an entirely new role for Blunt. Last month, the senator called for a swift and thorough inquiry into Trump’s possible connections to Russia.
So far, Trump’s latest allegations bear a strong resemblance to conspiracy theories spun by a radio host with air time to fill and listeners to entertain. That’s where this latest journey down a Twitter rabbit hole began.
Host Mark Levin trotted out the allegation. Breitbart News then picked it up, and soon Trump latched onto the tale. The fingerprints of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and former Breitbart head honcho, could emerge at some point during this investigation.
Trump appears easily seduced by unfiltered, unsubstantiated “alternative facts” pushed by some talk radio hosts and partisan media organizations. The president has failed to distinguish between credible reporting and wishful thinking as he has eagerly embraced tidbits that spoon-feed his penchant to believe in boogeymen out to get him. It’s all one big stew.
Unfortunately, that means Blunt and other members of Congress must swiftly step forward to extinguish the fires that Trump sets, restoring the nation’s confidence through good old-fashioned fact-finding.