By Friday, March 3, Breitbart News, which has excellent pipelines into the White House, amplified Levin's theory with added enhancements meant to raise the small hairs on every conspiracy-minded right-winger out there.
By Friday evening, at his gilded Mar-y-Lago cage for the weekend, President Trump was telling resort guests all about Obama's orders to have him wiretapped, and then early Saturday morning he began floating the conspiracy in a series of unhinged tweets to his Twitter followers.
It was another one of those outrageous shiny objects that Trump likes to wave when things are otherwise going badly, which they have been. His followers will believe every word, not putting two-and-two together, but the rest of us are free to see just exactly how the small mind works.
"A senior White House official" -- feel free to guess who -- told a couple of New York Times reporters that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working to secure access to "what Mr. McGahn believed to be an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates."
Not much later -- and this gets good! -- and "after the White House received heavy criticism for the suggestion that Mr. McGahn would breach Justice Department independence," a different administration official -- again, feel free to guess who -- said that the earlier statements about McGahn's efforts had been "overstated." The official said the counsel’s office does not know whether an investigation exists.
And then there's this bit of intel:
In the fall, the F.B.I. examined computer data showing an odd stream of activity between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks, whose owners have longstanding links to Mr. Putin. While some F.B.I. officials initially believed that the computer activity indicated an encrypted channel between Moscow and New York, the bureau ultimately moved away from that view. The activity remains unexplained.Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement following Trump's Twitter tirade: “The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information .... we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.”
Civilization-warping. What he said!