CNN checked in on the Trump-Obama surveillance story Monday morning and seemed profoundly confused about what is actually going on:
An incendiary idea first put forward by right-wing radio host Mark Levin is now burning across Washington, fanned by President Trump’s tweets and a huge number of supportive commentators and websites — even though the facts don’t back up the conclusion.
Breitbart News has given the conspiracy theory a name: “DeepStateGate.” Others are going with “ObamaGate.” And Fox News host Sean Hannity is asking: “What did OBAMA know and when did he know it???”
Levin’s original idea, advanced on Thursday, was that former President Barack Obama and his allies have mounted a “silent coup” against Trump using “police state” tactics. Levin cherry-picked news stories that supported his thesis and omitted information that cut against it.
The next day, Rush Limbaugh echoed Levin’s “silent coup” language, and Breitbart columnist Joel Pollak published an “expanded version of that case.”
That’s how the idea reached Trump’s radar. The Breitbart article “circulated” in the West Wing, a White House official told CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, and the information “infuriated” Trump.