The conservative radio host who many believe is responsible for President Donald Trump’s thus-far unfounded theory about former President Barack Obama blasted CNN’s Brian Stelter for pointing out holes in the host’s story.
Last Thursday, Mark Levin suggested that Obama was waging a “silent coup” against Trump, and had wiretapped the then-presidential candidate’s personal telephones. Breitbart aggregated the report, reportedly drawing attention from the White House, causing Trump to accuse Obama of bugging the new president’s phones.
But Levin hasn’t been pleased about the reaction to his commentary.
On his show “Reliable Sources” on Sunday, Stelter pointed out that Levin’s broadcast far-from proved the wiretapping accusation, describing the accusation as “attempts to connect some dots” based on previous reporting.
Levin responded on Monday in an open letter on Facebook, dubbing Stelter’s points “ad hominem attacks,” and asking if Stelter listened to the radio host’s show before the broadcast.
“The fact that we cannot discern all the details because of the secrecy, except for what the media have revealed and selective leaks by the government, should cause you to want to know more, not to trash those who point it out,” Levin wrote.
“Your lack of curiosity and dishonesty about such matters and in dealing with me demean you and your profession,” he concluded.
The conservative media personality defended his broadcast.
He argued that observers can make “several logical implications based on events and experience,” noting reports that law enforcement officials sought Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrants to monitor Russian banks with unclear connections to the Trump campaign. Levin also pointed barbs at his critics, noting that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – who denied Trump and Levin’s allegations – made some false statements during testimony about the National Security Agency’s dragnet telephone surveillance program.
But thus far, the letter appears as far as Levin will go: The host acknowledged in his letter that he denied Stelter’s request to appear on “Reliable Sources.”
Stelter said in a tweet that he replied to Levin:
Levin emailed me, “Do you deny there were two FISA applications?” I replied: “I don’t know. You don’t know. The reporting is very murky.” https://t.co/uSyUgooRl0
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 6, 2017
While some on the right like Levin and Breitbart have treated the substance of the allegations as fact, other right-leaning media outlets have approached the wiretap with more caution.
Outlets like Fox News have not confirmed the existence of the FISA warrants, though some network opinion personalities like Sean Hannity have embraced Trump’s theory.