UPDATE 2 — 3/20, 11:20 a.m. EDT: Testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee Monday, FBI Director James Comey said the bureau holds no files to back up President Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wiretapped the Republican 2016 presidential campaign.
Comey also told the congressional panel that the FBI is currently looking into potential ties between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin as part of a larger investigation regarding Russian interference in the U.S. election.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes announced earlier Monday before witness testimony began that no evidence has been found to back up Trump’s assertion regarding former President Obama.
UPDATE — 3/18, 8:25 a.m. EDT: While House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Friday he is “satisfied” that DOJ fully cooperated with the panel’s request for information about intelligence gleaned from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, CNN government sources indicated Justice’s classified report to Congress will not confirm the current president’s claim that Barack Obama spied on the Republican nominee in 2016.
Nunes also issued a statement later Friday indicating his committee had received a partial response from the NSA regarding the same issue, but the FBI and CIA had yet to provide “information requested [by the panel] . . . necessary to determine whether information collected on US persons was mishandled and leaked.”
Both FBI and NSA directors, James Comey and Mike Rogers, are scheduled to testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan statement Thursday indicating no evidence has been received that Trump Tower was ever wiretapped.
Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-Va.) issued the one sentence statement nearly two weeks after President Trump claimed his personal residence was bugged and called for an investigation.
“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” the statement read.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also told the media Thursday he had not seen any evidence to substantiate Trump’s claim. While being interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blizer, Ryan said although there is no evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped, he still has faith in the president.
“We have not seen any evidence that there was a wiretap or a court order against Trump Tower or somebody in Trump Tower,” Ryan said. “I think the president’s going to be marked and judged by his record.”
President Trump startled the nation and sent shock waves through Washington after he claimed in a series of tweets that Trump Tower had been wiretapped under former President Barack Obama’s orders.
While Democrats had a field day with the unfounded allegations, many Republican legislators were also visibly uncomfortable with the claim. However, the appropriate committees promised to look into the allegations. Wednesday was the House Intelligence Committee’s deadline to provide evidence after they sent a letter requesting information.
Even though the Trump administration has failed turn over any evidence to back the president’s claims, Trump has refused recant his statements. However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been making the case that Trump used wiretapping in quotes — thus indicating any form of surveillance.
“I think the president has been very clear when he talked about this . . . he meant surveillance,” Spicer said.
Trump also used this defense when he was interviewed earlier Thursday on Fox News.
Meanwhile, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway is talking about the possibility of microwaves that spy on you, just in case you were hoping this would get weirder.
[CNN] [The Hill] [ABC News] [Wired] [AP]