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U.S. President Donald Trump says he will produce evidence “very soon” that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower headquarters in New York in the weeks before last November’s election.
Top leaders of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee say Trump’s allegation is unfounded, but late Wednesday he told Fox News his administration “will be submitting things” to the panel and that he perhaps will be speaking about his claim next week.
“You’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks,” Trump said.
Congressional leaders refute claim
Numerous congressional leaders, both opposition Democrats and Republican colleagues of the president, have said they have seen no evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, the skyscraper where the billionaire real estate mogul ran his campaign and his home before winning the White House.
The latest to dismiss Trump’s wiretap allegation was House Speaker Paul Ryan, who told reporters Thursday, “We’ve cleared that up, that we see no evidence of that.”
Trump made his explosive wiretapping charge against his predecessor March 4 in a string of Twitter comments. One of them said, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
But Obama dismissed the allegation as “simply false” and Trump since then has not substantiated his claim. Until the Fox interview, Trump dodged reporters’ questions about the allegation.
Trump told Fox his Twitter comment “really covers surveillance and many other things. Nobody ever talks about the fact that (the words ‘wire tapped’) was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing.”
On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, who has been supportive of Trump, held a news conference about Trump’s wiretapping allegation.
“We don’t have any evidence that took place,” he said. “I don’t think there was a tapping of Trump Tower.”
The committee’s top Democrat, Congressman Adam Schiff, agreed, saying, “To date, I see no evidence (of Obama-ordered wiretapping), no basis for that whatsoever.”
Nunes and Schiff said they are waiting for information from the country’s Department of Justice by next Monday about whether the agency knows of any court-ordered wiretaps of Trump, but said they have learned of no such bugging in their investigation. The congressional probe was requested by the White House after Trump made his wiretapping allegation.
Trump & Russia
The House Intelligence Committee is also looking at links between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials during the billionaire real estate mogul’s long run for the White House and in the weeks after he won the election before assuming power January 20.
Nunes said that James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the country’s top law enforcement agency, would testify next Monday before the intelligence committee about the wiretapping allegation and the agency’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election aimed at helping Trump win.
Nunes said the panel expects to learn Friday from U.S. investigators of any names of Trump aides who talked with Russian officials beyond the one known such contact, conversations between Trump’s ousted national security adviser, retired Army general Michael Flynn, and the Russian ambassador to Washington. Trump dismissed Flynn after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
One key U.S. senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said, “I’m going to get to the bottom of this. Congress is going to flex its muscle.”
He vowed, if need be, to subpoena the FBI to determine whether any U.S. judge issued a secret wiretapping edict the FBI carried out.