White House asks Congress to investigate alleged Obama abuse
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CNN) — President Donald Trump is asking Congress to look into whether the Obama administration abused its investigative powers during the 2016 election, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement Sunday.
The request came a day after Trump took to Twitter to accuse former President Barack Obama, without providing any evidence, of wiretapping his phones in Trump Tower in the weeks before the November election.
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” Spicer said in the statement, which he also posted on Twitter. “President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” Spicer added. He did not provide any further details on the President’s request to Congress.
While Spicer said “reports” to that effect prompted the call for a congressional investigation, the White House still has not provided any evidence to back up the President’s accusations. There are no publicly known credible reports to back up Trump’s claim that Obama ordered Trump’s phones be monitored.
Instead, multiple former senior US officials have dismissed Trump’s allegations, calling them “nonsense” and “false.” Obama, through a spokesman, also rejected the claim that he ordered Trump’s phones tapped.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a career intelligence official who had oversight of the US intelligence community in that role, said Sunday that Trump was not wiretapped by intelligence agencies nor did the FBI obtain a court order through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Trump’s phones.
“For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Asked whether he could confirm or deny whether the FBI could have tapped Trump’s phones through a FISA court order, Clapper was unequivocal.
“I can deny it,” he said, referring to the existence of a FISA court order of Trump or “anything at Trump Tower.”