Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Culture | By Julio Duncan

Congress rubbishes Trump's Obama bugging claim

Congress rubbishes Trump's Obama bugging claim

Just weeks into his new administration, President Donald Trump is mired in a political and diplomatic mess of his own making after leveling unsubstantiated accusations via Twitter that Barack Obama authorized wiretaps on him.

Asked why he had not relied on USA intelligence for a claim with extraordinary legal implications, Trump bizarrely stated: "Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency".

"You have a Senate and House intelligence committee, both leaders from both parties on both of those panels saying that they don't see any evidence of any wiretapping", Acosta pointed out.

Both Russia's clandestine interference in USA politics and Mr. Trump's disturbing habit of making explosive political charges, without supporting evidence, have dramatically overshadowed the first two months of his presidency.

Earlier this month, Trump fired off a series of early-morning tweets, accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower before the election.

"They're not findings. There's a statement out today they have not begun this", Spicer told ABC News at today's White House press briefing. But Trump, who rarely admits he's wrong, has been unmoved, leaving his advisers in the untenable position of defending the president without any credible evidence.

The accusations - flatly denied by Obama - were at first seen as frivolous, spur-of-the-moment comments after a politically bruising week, which Trump and his team could later retreat from without much damage.

"At least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said Friday, motioning to Merkel, a reference to how the US National Security Agency had tapped the German Chancellor's phone in the past. "There is absolutely no evidence of that and no suggestion of any evidence of that".

"The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee would not have made the statement they made without having been fully briefed by the appropriate authorities", a spokesperson for Warner said, according to NBC News. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a joint statement, providing no other details.

However he did not provide any evidence to support his claim, and thus far no evidence is thought to have been produced.

Frustrated that there has been no response to his demand, a week ago, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to produce copies of any warrants or court orders that would have sanctioned surveillance of Trump and his campaign, Graham also threatened to go the subpoena route, arguing on CNN: "I want to get to the bottom of it". The FBI would know if a warrant was issued, if a warrant was applied for. "I want to answer that question".

In two of those, Trump put quotes around the term, which Spicer said means he may not have meant it literally.

Asked how he concluded he was being snooped on, Trump cited a January 20 New York Times article 'where they were talking about wiretapping. "I just don't choose to do it right now".

The New York Times article is about intercepted communications used by the FBI amid its investigation into some of Trump's current and former aides - including Roger Stone, Carter Page and Paul Manafort - and their ties to Russian Federation.

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