President Donald Trump does not believe FBI Director James Comey‘s assertion that claims former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 election are false, a White House spokesperson said on Monday.
Following Trump’s claims on Saturday that Obama had his “wires tapped” in October, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department to publicly refute the president’s claims, according to the New York Times. The DOJ has yet to comment.
Asked on Monday by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s Good Morning America whether Trump would accept Comey’s version of events, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I don’t think so.”
“I think he firmly believes that this is a story line that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets,” Huckabee Sanders added. The White House spokeswoman first suggested that multiple media reports support Trump’s claims of Obama-ordered wiretaps on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
“Everybody acts like President Trump is the one that came up with this idea and just threw it out there,” Huckabee Sanders said on Sunday. “There are multiple news outlets that have reported this.”
In response to an inquiry from fact-checking outlet PolitiFact, the White House cited five articles as evidence of Trump’s explosive claim that Obama ordered surveillance of his phones. Multiple outlets, starting with a Nov. 7, 2016, article published by HeatStreet, report that U.S. law enforcement sought a warrant through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor the communications between as many as four members of Trump’s campaign team and Russia. The details differ, but the Guardian and the BBC both reported on the FISA warrant, as did HeatStreet.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Sunday denied the existence of any such FISA warrant and the wiretapping of Trump Tower.
None of the articles provided by the White House—including a Jan. 29, 2017, New York Times story that some are citing as evidence of Trump’s claim—report that U.S. operatives wiretapped Trump Tower nor that Obama ordered such surveillance.
The only article that claims Obama ordered wiretaps on Trump Tower is a March 3 Breitbart article that claims, based on no original reporting, that “the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign.”
While Trump has not provided any evidence to support his claim, he has called for Congress to investigate the matter.
A spokesperson for Obama has categorically denied the former president or his staff ordered surveillance of Trump.