As president of the United States, Donald Trump has information from of the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies at his disposal. But he gets his intelligence from a more “reliable” source and he wants the FBI to pay attention to it: Fox News.
Instead of asking the FBI what’s going on in the world, Trump is telling them to watch Fox News.
On Monday morning, Trump sent a tweet referring to a recent Fox News report about surveillance of his associates discussed that morning on Fox & Friends — and tagged it “@FBI,” apparently indicating he wants the FBI to, I guess, look into it?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2017
The broader context here is that the president is trying, with the help of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Fox News, to change the subject from the multiple investigations into whether his associates or campaign coordinated with Russia by whipping up a counter-scandal where he, Donald Trump, is the victim —talk about alternative reality.
What they’ve come up with, as seen in apparently White House–sourced public statements by Nunes and leaks to sympathetic outlets like Fox, is this “unmasking” controversy. It is essentially about whether the names of Trump associates turned up during legal surveillance of foreigners were too widely shared in the government.
The Fox report Trump is publicizing, from Fox News’s Malia Zimmerman and Adam Housley, claims that Nunes now knows which intelligence official was responsible for the unmasking. The Fox report further claims that some of the information came from foreign targets “spied on long before Trump became the GOP presidential nominee in mid-July.”
But Trump has decided to twist this in a misleading way. “Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends. ‘Spied on before nomination.’ The real story,” he tweeted Monday morning. This could be read to suggest that Fox reported Trump’s team was spied on before he was nominated.
But the report, in fact, says it was likely foreign targets who were spied on. So while we don’t yet know the full story here, we do know that Trump is already distorting it to try to help himself out politically.
Meanwhile, Trump wants his top spy agency to start watching Fox News for “reliable” intelligence.