Thursday, 25 May, 2017

Justice Dept. delivers documents on wiretap claim to Congress

Howard Terry | 19 March, 2017, 00:53

Two of the government's highest-ranking intelligence officials will go before a House committee next week to testify about President Trump's bombastic claim that his predecessor "tapped" his phones during the 2016 election.

The leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday flatly refuted President Trump's claims that his NY offices were wiretapped by the Obama administration in advance of the November election.

During a media briefing at the White House on Thursday, Mr Spicer drew reporters' attention to comments made earlier this week on Fox News by former judge Andrew Napolitano in relation to Mr Trump's controversial claim that his NY residence had been bugged.

United States president Donald Trump's spying claims are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored, the spokesperson said.

"That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, OK?"

"This shows the administration doesn't give the allegations any credence", the Downing Street spokesman said. "You should be talking to Fox", the New York Times quoted him as saying.

"We said nothing", Trump told a German reporter who asked about the matter at a joint White House news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Friday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, told CNN's Manu Raju that Obama is owed an apology for Trump's "reckless" comment on wiretapping.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has remained quiet, however.

The documents were delivered prior to a public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, where FBI Director James B. Comey has been asked to clarify if the bureau is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election and alleged links between the Trump team and Russian officials.

Trump's allegations against President Barack Obama have sparked a reactions ranging from bafflement to anger in Washington, with both Democrats and Republican lawmakers saying they have no evidence to support his claim. He did not elaborate on the details of the information.

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said his committee "is satisfied" the department "fully complied" with its request. Trump tweeted on March 4.

President Trump has stood behind his assertion that the wires at Trump Tower were "tapped". "Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" he said on his official Twitter account. "A NEW LOW!" he continued, accusing Obama of crimes comparable to those of Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal. But the White House has persisted.

The agency, which works with MI6 and MI5, was dragged into the scandal following claims made on Thursday by Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer.

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