Trump accuses Obama of eavesdropping on campaign, wiretapping Trump Tower

UPDATE 2 — 3/8, 10:28 a.m. EST: According to media sources, Barack Obama was “irked and exasperated” and “livid” after learning of Donald Trump’s tweet accusing the former president of wiretapping his 2016 political campaign.

Mr. Obama was reportedly in Washington over the weekend, seen at an art galley with wife Michelle and seemed to be in a pleasant mood as he left the museum.

 

UPDATE — 3/5, 10:29 a.m. EST: In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied allegations made by President Trump that the Obama Justice Department ordered wiretapping of the Republican 2016 presidential campaign.

“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, as a candidate or against his campaign,” he said, adding that he would have known about any FISA requests for a warrant.

 

In a bold allegation leveled Saturday morning, President Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during his campaign for the White House.

Mr. Trump tweeted the wiretapping occurred as early as October 2016.  The president did not cite a report or offer evidence to support the charge against the 44th president and two former senior Obama officials have denied the accusations out-of-hand.

In order to have legally listened-in on Trump campaign conversations regarding Russian interference, the Obama Justice Department would have had to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which one of the anonymous former officials told CNN was never sought.

Located on posh 5th Avenue in New York City, Trump Tower was the nerve center of Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, the transition team before the Republican assumed the Oval Office.

The building also serves as the president’s private residence; Trump also maintains business offices in the site.

In the midst of claiming his offices and residence were under surveillance during campaign season, Trump inserted two tweets linking Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, to Mr. Obama, revealing Kislyak visited the former president at the White House 22 times during Obama’s two terms — four times in 2016 alone.

Mr. Kislyak, the man at the center of a recent controversy involving U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is alleged to have had contact with Sessions during the 2016 campaign, contradicting the former Alabama senator’s testimony during confirmation hearings to lead the Justice Department.

Sessions stated in Senate testimony he had not met or spoken to Kislyak.  It was later revealed Sessions did in fact have contact with Kislyak on at least two occasions, but it has yet to be clarified if the contact was routine while Sessions served in the Senate or in the capacity as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.

 

[AP] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Reuters via BBC]