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FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on Monday that he couldn’t support President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones before the 2016 election.
“We have no information to support those tweets,” Comey said in his testimony. “All I can tell you is that we have no information to support them.”
Trump made the claim on Twitter earlier this month in a rant that called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy.”
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
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Since then, though, virtually anyone in the U.S. government capable of commenting on the allegation has said that Trump’s claims were untrue (and that Obama logistically couldn’t have ordered a wiretap, anyway).
On the same day as Trump’s tweets, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department to disavow his claims. Though the Trump administration continues to say it’s confident that evidence will be found to back up Trump’s tweets, even Republican lawmakers have said there is simply nothing to suggest Obama did what Trump said.
Comey then went on to explain how a potential wiretapping request would work.
"There is a statutory framework in the United States in which courts" grant permission for surveillance, Comey says, explaining the law 1/— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 20, 2017
...to the hearing room as well as the sitting president of the United States.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 20, 2017
The White House also had to apologize last week after Press Secretary Sean Spicer alleged that British spy agency GCHQ spied on Trump at Obama’s request, a claim that seemingly was made after Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano said it on air without offering a shred of evidence.
Clearly, that angered the U.S.’s biggest ally, and the administration had to backtrack and apologize and reportedly told British officials that the claim would “not be repeated.”
On Monday, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers also strongly denied that the GCHQ would have been involved in any Trump surveillance.
Before Comey and Rogers began their testimony Monday, Trump went off on another Twitter tangent, saying “the Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.”
Now, after Comey’s testimony, what will he say at his rally Monday night in Louisville?
So...— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 20, 2017
..all say there was no wiretap. Will Trump concede now?
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.