House Intel Seeks Clarity From Comey on Wiretap Claims

Carla Harmon
March 20, 2017

Mr Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer insisted on Thursday that the President stands by his allegation - made in a March 4 tweet - that President Barack Obama ordered surveillance of his phones at Trump Tower in NY during the campaign in autumn.

While the FBI has kept silent on Trump's claim, its director, Jim Comey, is slated to testify on the Russian Federation investigation Monday before Nunes and Schiff's committee, where he is nearly certain to face questions about placing Trump and his associates under surveillance.

Asked if Trump will apologize to Obama for accusing him of wiretapping, if he comes to accept that his claims were wrong, Spicer said he wouldn't want to "prejudge where the outcome is".

Although the White House is standing by the claim, key Republican leaders are breaking with the President and mounting pressure for Trump to retract the statement.

The Russian government has rejected accusations by United States intelligence agencies it worked to influence the election in Trump's favour.

"There is no question that there were surveillance techniques used throughout this", Spicer said. Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, last month after he failed to disclose contacts with Russia's ambassador before Trump took office on January 20. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a one-sentence joint statement Thursday afternoon.

"I think the director will have an opportunity to put the final exclamation point on that and put this to rest, and then it will be up to the president to explain why he would make such a baseless accusation", he said.

Trump has not provided any evidence to support that claim, and several lawmakers say there isn't any.

Given Sessions' recusal, Rosenstein would take over responsibility for any probes touching the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling if he's confirmed. "And we're in the process of putting it together, and I think it's going to be very demonstrative".

It's nearly odd that the wiretapping story has stuck around for as long as it has - a story carrying weight for over a week has been rare during the Trump presidency.

In a Fox News interview on Wednesday evening, Trump confirmed conjecture that his claims of Obama wire-tapping him were based on media reports - and he was utterly confident that information would emerge in the coming days or weeks to vindicate him, which is to say that Trump was walking back the recent walk-back efforts by his aides.

"I'm saying this has been looked at", Acosta said.

Their counterparts on the House intelligence committee, the Republican Devin Nunes and the Democrat Adam Schiff, both of California, announced the same conclusion on Wednesday.

"They're not findings", he said.

Spicer once again clarified that by saying "wiretapping" the president actually meant surveillance.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked the committee for more time to provide information relevant to the investigation after it was given Monday, March 13, as a deadline.

If that had occurred, he said, he would "absolutely" have been told that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had sought and received a court-ordered warrant to tap under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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