US President Donald Trump stands by wiretap claims

Posted March 20, 2017

Former Obama White House chief of staff Denis McDonough says he has "no idea" what President Donald Trump is talking about when he claims to have evidence that his predecessor wiretapped him.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked the committee for more time to provide information relevant to the investigation after it was given Monday, March 13, as a deadline.

The unusually strong, bipartisan statement left little room for the White House to continue its defense of Trump's extraordinary allegations that implied that former president Barack Obama engaged in a possible criminal act. After missing a deadline set by Nunes and Schiff, the department asked for more time to review their request and "to determine what if any responsive documents may exist".

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., issued the statement only hours after Trump told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that he would be providing evidence of his claims "very soon".

"Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election?" he said in another tweet.

"The intelligence committees, in their continuing, widening, ongoing investigation of all things Russian Federation, got to the bottom - at least so far with respect to our intelligence community - that no such wiretap existed", Ryan told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill.

It's nearly odd that the wiretapping story has stuck around for as long as it has - a story carrying weight for over a week has been rare during the Trump presidency.

The GCHQ vigorously denied the charges in a rare public statement, saying the report was "utterly ridiculous and should be ignored".

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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on March 16, 2017. "We want to find that out", Nunes said. "I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign". The Republican president offered no evidence for the allegation, which an Obama spokesman said was "simply false". "You shouldn't be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox".

"I think the entire country needs to know if there's something there".

"At least we have something in common, perhaps", Trump said Friday, motioning to Merkel, a reference to how the US National Security Agency had tapped the German Chancellor's phone in the past.

Given Sessions' recusal, Rosenstein would take over responsibility for any probes touching the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling if he's confirmed.

It doesn't appear that Trump read the article closely, however, because it does not say Obama personally ordered a tap on his phones during the election, as Trump claimed in his tweet. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday it would hold a hearing on Russia's meddling into the U.S. election on March 30. The department would not comment further on what information, if any, was provided.