Former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich surprisingly defended President Donald Trump over the the wiretapping controversy in a Friday op-ed for Fox News.
The former Ohio congressman cited his own experience with wiretapping in the piece: “President Trump’s assertion that his phones at Trump Tower were tapped last year has been treated as hilarious—and in some circles as beyond contempt. But I can vouch for the fact that extracurricular surveillance does occur, regardless of whether it is officially approved. I was wiretapped in 2011 after taking a phone call in my congressional office from a foreign leader.”
Kucinich outlined how he found out about the surveillance that was done on him. The conservative Washington Times approached him in 2015 — two years after he retired from the House of Representatives — and asked him to verify a recording of a phone call between the then-congressman and “Saif el-Islam Qaddafi, a high-ranking official in Libya’s government and a son of the country’s ruler, Moammar Qaddafi.”
The Democrat underlined that he had “checked with the House’s general counsel to ensure that such a discussion by a member of Congress with a foreign power was permitted by law.” The counsel replied that the representative was “expressly protected by the Article I clauses covering separation of powers and congressional speech and debate” to make the phone call.
Kucinich confirmed to the newspaper that the recording was authentic. The Times revealed excerpts from the conversation in a report, and “provided online links where readers could listen to me talking with Mr. Qaddafi.” The publication also explained that they were “secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.”
The left-wing politician then offered his theory on the origin of the recording: “I believe the tape was made by an American intelligence agency and then leaked to the Times for political reasons. If so, this episode represented a gross violation of the separation of powers.”
Kucinich ended his op-ed by emphasizing that he hadn’t “gone public with this story, but when I saw the derision with which President Trump’s claims were greeted—and notwithstanding our political differences—I felt I should share my experience.” He added that “when the president raised the question of wiretapping on his phones in Trump Tower, he was challenged to prove that such a thing could happen. It happened to me.”
[image via screengrab]
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