A day after accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his
phones before the election, President Trump called on Congress to
investigate his claim, for which he has cited no evidence.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement on Sunday
saying that “reports concerning potentially politically motivated
investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very
troubling,” and that Trump is asking Congress to investigate.
“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their
investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence
committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether
executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016,” the
statement read. “Neither the White House nor the President will
comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
Early Saturday morning, Trump unleashed a series of tweets claiming
Obama had wiretapped the phones at Trump Tower prior to the 2016
election. Trump provided no citations to back up the claim, and a
spokesman for the former president branded the accusation “simply
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump
Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” he
declared from his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Fla., where
Trump is once again spending the weekend.
“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for
president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW
LOW!” he added.
It wasn’t clear what, exactly, Trump was referring to as he raged
against his predecessor, whom he labeled a “bad (or sick) guy!” And
the White House did not clarify from whom Trump had “just learned”
this new information.
But a report published Friday by right-wing Breitbart News quoted
conservative radio host Mark Levin, who outlined the alleged steps the
Obama took “in its last months to undermine Donald Trump’s
presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.” The
Washington Post reported that the Breitbart article had been passed
around in the White House ahead of Trump’s tweets. (Steve Bannon,
Trump’s chief strategist in the White House, is a former chief
executive of Breitbart.)
If Trump obtained the wiretap information from his own intelligence
sources instead of media reports, he’d have the authority to
declassify the material and substantiate his claims.
On Sunday, Trump followed up his seemingly conspiratorial Twitter
flurry with another early-morning tweet aimed at his predecessor.
Who was it that secretly said to Russian President, “Tell Vladimir
that after the election I’ll have more flexibility?”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2017