President Donald Trump’s administration continues to insist that former president Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during last year’s campaign, despite lack of proof and numerous denials from high-ranking government officials.
The POTUS, 70, went on a lengthy Twitter rant on Saturday, March 4, alleging that his predecessor “was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” He called his unsubstantiated claims the new “Nixon/Watergate” and called Obama, 55, a “bad (or sick) guy!”
During a Good Morning America interview with George Stephanopoulos on Monday, March 6, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders (2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s daughter) was asked whether Trump was willing to accept FBI director James Comey’s denial of the incident. Although Comey hasn’t publicly addressed the wiretap allegations, multiple outlets such as The New York Times and NBC have reported via sources that he asked the Department of Justice to repudiate the commander in chief’s claims.
“You know, I don’t think he does [accept Comey’s denial],” Sanders told GMA. “I think he firmly believes that this is a storyline that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets. The wiretapping has been discussed in The New York Times, BBC, Fox News, and we believe that it should be looked at by the House Intelligence Committee.” However, none of these media outlets actually reported anything to back up the wiretapping claims prior to Trump’s tweets about the issue.
Sanders was also asked if Trump had reached out to the FBI or intelligence community to verify his claims about Obama, and she told Stephanopoulos that she didn’t know.
Top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway also defended the business mogul’s unsourced allegations and insinuated that he may have additional information. “He is the president of the United States,” she told Fox News on Monday. “He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not. That’s the way it should be for presidents.”
The former director of National Intelligence James Clapper has already denied that there was any wrongdoing. “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said on Meet the Press on Sunday. He also said he “can deny” that a FISA order existed to monitor Trump Tower. (FISA orders allow the government to eavesdrop on any foreign agents suspected of espionage or terrorism.)
Obama’s spokesperson Kevin Lewis also denied the allegations in a statement to Us Weekly: “A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”