Sean Spicer says Trump 'stands by' his wiretapping claims despite bipartisan pushback
20 March, 2017, 21:37 | Author: Benny Bass
Spicer disputed this bipartisan statement, however, saying the committee has not been briefed by the Department of Justice, which is investigating the claims. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes admitted that he doesn't believe Obama ordered a physical wiretap or other surveillance activities of Trump Tower, but added, "we want to make sure that no surveillance activities were used for political purposes".
'To date I've seen no evidence that supports the claim that President Trump made, ' Schiff said Wednesday.
"I think that puts a rather firm exclamation point that this is a baseless charge by the president, but I think we'll have the director address this in our open hearing on Monday, and then hopefully that will put this to rest", Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, told BuzzFeed News.
Instead, Trump, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone had been tapped by the Obama administration, said at a news conference: "As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps".
The White House press secretary was asked if the president "still stands by his allegation that President Obama ordered wiretapping or surveillance on Trump Tower".
To be clear, when President Trump made the accusation in four early morning tweets on March 4, he did not describe surveillance in broad terms. Now, even Trump's allies are backing away from the accusation.
'I said, "Wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about",' Trump recalled.
"I've been reading about things", Mr Trump said. "There is absolutely no evidence of that and no suggestion of any evidence of that".
Senate Select Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina.
The Justice Department is expected to turn over any information relevant to Trump's claim on Monday, though it is unclear what, if any, evidence will be presented.
"Congress is going to flex its muscles", Graham said on CNN. The FBI would know if a warrant was issued, if a warrant was applied for.
She shrugged off questions about providing any evidence of foul play that the Trump campaign may have, simply saying: "I'm not in the job of having evidence". The president said he'd learned about the alleged wiretapping from news reports referencing intercepted communications, despite the fact that he and his advisers have publicly denounced stories about government agencies reviewing contacts between Trump associates and Russians. To quote CNN's write-up on the briefing, "Spicer said Trump wasn't referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping".
He also alluded, non-specifically, to a Fox News report.
House Speaker Ryan told reporters: "The point is, the intelligence committees in their continuing, widening, ongoing investigation of all things Russian Federation, got to the bottom - at least so far - with respect to our intelligence community that - that no such wiretap existed".
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The frequency and the level of those contacts raised alarms in U.S. intelligence and law enforcement circles. While Trump used the term "wiretapping", he and his aides say that now refers to "surveillance" in general.
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