House Intel Seeks Clarity From Comey on Wiretap Claims

House Intel Seeks Clarity From Comey on Wiretap Claims

On Thursday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer, defending his boss, cited a Fox News report that Obama had recruited Britain's signals intelligence agency GCHQ previous year to wiretap Trump Tower in NY, a luxury office and residential skyscraper that serves as both Trump's home and offices.

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin pushed back on the accusations as well.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes, said in a statement late on Friday that the Justice Department had "fully complied" with the panel's request. Chuck Grassley have both said they will hold up hearings for Rod Rosenstein, Trump's nominee to serve as deputy attorney general, unless they get more information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Republican Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the committee's Democratic vice chair Mark Warner, said in a statement that they had received no information to support Trump's claim, made in a tweet on March 4.

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Instead, Trump, standing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone had been tapped by the Obama administration, said at a news conference: "As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps".

A spokesman for the former President dismissed the allegation as "simply false", while legislators from both parties called on Trump to produce evidence of the surveillance or retract the charge.

"Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the USA government either before or after Election Day 2016", Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a joint statement.

Mr Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer insisted on Thursday that the President stands by his allegation - made in a March 4 tweet - that President Barack Obama ordered surveillance of his phones at Trump Tower in NY during the campaign in autumn. The president said he'd learned about the alleged wiretapping from news reports referencing intercepted communications, despite the fact that he and his advisers have publicly denounced stories about government agencies reviewing contacts between Trump associates and Russians.

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FBI Director James Comey was scheduled to brief top members of the Senate judiciary committee Wednesday afternoon in response to a separate request about the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian officials. This week he said neither Trump nor the White House would respond to further questions about the controversy until Congress finishes its investigation.

"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command", Spicer read from the Fox News report. "This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!", Mr Trump wrote.

The tension could break into the open on Monday during a House Intelligence Committee public hearing on Russian Federation. He explained that after noticing an article in The New York Times and commentary by Fox anchor Bret Baier, Mr Trump said he told himself, "Wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about".

Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, will testify before the panel along with Comey.

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