White House aides defend Trump’s wiretapping claim

 

 
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On Sunday, Trump demanded that they broaden the scope of their inquiries to include Obama’s potential abuse of his executive powers. The House and Senate intelligence committees, and the FBI, are investigating contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, as well as whether Moscow tried to influence the 2016 election.

 
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Donald Trump wants Congress to help find proof Barack Obama tapped his phones
 

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

 

President Donald Trump’s explosive claim that Barack Obama tapped Trump’s telephones during last year’s election, although they won’t say where that information came from and left open the possibility that it isn’t true. WASHINGTON — White House officials on Monday defended U.S.
He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not." -@KellyannePolls pic.twitter.com/r0cSE7IkSL "He’s the President of the United States.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
 
 

“Absolutely, I can deny it,” said Clapper, who left government when Trump took office. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the request by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Other Obama representatives also denied Trump’s allegation, which the FBI has asked the Justice Department to dispute, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Obama never had Trump’s office bugged: Spokesman

 

senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an early Trump campaign supporter, had met twice with the Russian ambassador but didn’t disclose that to lawmakers when he was asked about it during his Senate confirmation hearing. Trump is said to be frustrated by his senior advisers’ inability to tamp down allegations about contacts between his campaign aides and the Russian government. Compounding the situation was the revelation last week that former U.S.

 

When asked where Trump was getting his information from, Sanders said the president “may have access to documents that I don’t know about.”

president ‘Deplorables for Trump’; Supporters show their love for U.S.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the committee “will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates.”
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The aides said any ambiguity surrounding the issue is all the more reason for Congress to investigate the matter. In televised interviews, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump firmly believes the allegations he made on Twitter over the weekend.

 

I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!

 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement that the panel “will follow the evidence where it leads, and we will continue to be guided by the intelligence and facts as we compile our findings.”

Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

Trump spoke as recently as last month about how much he likes Obama and how much they get along, despite their differences. The tweets stood out, given the gravity of the charge and the sharp personal attack on the former president.

But Conway also said Trump might have access to other information she and others don’t. Likewise, Conway said that “credible news sources” suggested there was politically motivated activity during the campaign.

Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017 — Donald J.

Committee Democrats will have access to the information and could wield anything negative against the president. Trump’s request carries some risk, particularly if the committees unearth damaging information about him or his associates. Asking Congress to conduct a much broader investigation than originally envisioned also ensures the Russia issue will hang over the White House for months.

 
 

Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said nothing matching Trump’s claims had taken place.

“We’d like to know for sure,” Sanders, deputy White House press secretary, told NBC’s “Today” show.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

“He is the president of the United States,” Conway told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends. ”He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not.“

This is McCarthyism! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. Terrible!

— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 6, 2017
 
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) U.S. President Donald Trump salutes as he disembarks Marine One upon arrival at the White House in Washington, Sunday, March 5, 2017.

FBI investigators and Justice Department officials must seek approval from a federal judge for such a step. Josh Earnest, who was Obama’s White House press secretary, said presidents do not have authority to unilaterally order the wiretapping of American citizens, as Trump has alleged was done to him. Earnest accused Trump of levelling the allegation to distract from the attention being given to the Russia issue.
Strictly from media reports & not from any other source?” @savannahguthrie asks @SarahHuckabee pic.twitter.com/8JKCVBwzc6 “Is that the source of this information?

Bad (or sick) guy!” he tweeted, misspelling ’tap.’ This is Nixon/Watergate. “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process.
DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment Sunday, and an FBI spokesman also did not comment. The department, however, has issued no such statement.

How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 6, 2017

 
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Trump said in the tweets that he had “just found out” about being wiretapped. The president in the past has tweeted about unsubstantiated and provocative reports he reads on blogs or conservative websites. Unclear was whether he was referring to having learned through a briefing, a conversation or a media report.

 

Separately, an Indiana newspaper reported that Vice-President Mike Pence used personal email to conduct state business when he was governor of Indiana. The issue dogged Clinton for most of the presidential campaign. The revelation recalled the use of personal email by Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state.