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U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, wiretapped him in the weeks before last November’s election is unfounded, the top leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.
“We don’t have any evidence that took place,” Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, the panel’s chairman, said. “I don’t think there was a tapping of Trump Tower,” the president’s skyscraper headquarters in New York.
Congressman Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, agreed. “To date, I see no evidence (of Obama-ordered wiretapping), no basis for that whatsoever,” he said.
Awaiting info from Justice Dept.
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 had learned of no such bugging so far in their investigation.
The congressional probe was requested by the White House after Trump made the explosive wiretapping allegation in a March 4 Twitter comment.
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.
He said the panel expects to learn by 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.
Trump first made the allegation March 4, saying, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
But the president since then has provided no evidence for his claim and dodged reporters’ repeated questions about the allegation.