FBI Director Rejects Trump’s Obama Wiretap Claims
FBI director James Comey has rejected Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phone before he was elected US president, US media say.
Mr Comey reportedly asked the US justice department (DOJ) to publicly reject Saturday’s allegation, according to the New York Times and NBC.
He is said to have asked for this because the allegation falsely insinuated that the FBI broke the law.
The DOJ has not commented.
US media quoted officials as saying that Mr Comey believed there was no evidence to support Mr Trump’s allegation.
The White House has requested Congress investigate Mr Trump’s accusation that his predecessor ordered a wiretap of the phones at Trump Tower – his New York residence and campaign headquarters – before the November election.
Mr Trump has not offered any evidence to support his claims, and Mr Obama has rejected the allegations, with a spokesman describing them as “simply false”.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement on Sunday: “Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.”
He said the President had requested “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”.
It was unclear which reports Mr Spicer was referring to, but the House Intelligence Committee said it “will make inquiries” into the accusations.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel will also look at the allegations as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.
The Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Mr Trump’s claims were “just ridiculous”.
She said having people “talking about what you want them to be talking about” was a “tool of an authoritarian”.
Mr Trump made the allegations against Mr Obama in a series of tweets on Saturday, amid growing scrutiny of his campaign’s ties with Russia.
He wrote: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”