Following explosive accusations Saturday from President Donald Trump that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during his campaign, his White House called on Congress to investigate alleged politically-motivated wiretapping.
FBI director James Comey was reportedly “incredulous” over Trump’s tweets, believing that the accusations would portray the FBI in a negative light.
According to NPR, Comey has requested that the Justice Department publicly deny President Trump’s allegation that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap of candidate Trump, a law enforcement official confirms to NPR’s Carrie Johnson. The New York Times first broke that story. The Department of Justice has so far issued no comment on this development. He joins former director of national intelligence James Clapper in denial of the wiretap.
According to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump doesn’t believe Comey that Obama didn’t wiretap. When asked on “Good Morning America” by George Stephanopoulos whether or not Trump accepted Comey’s denial, Sanders replied “You know, I don’t think he does, George, I think he firmly believes that this is a storyline that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets. The wiretapping has been discussed in The New York Times, BBC, Fox News and we believe that it should be looked at by the House Intelligence Committee.” The sources she cited didn’t mention a wiretapping of Trump Tower and they didn’t implicate Obama, however.
Asked if Trump had reached out to the FBI or anyone else in the intelligence community, of which he is in charge, to verify his claim that Obama illegally tapped his phones, Sanders said she did not know.
The president, Sanders said, is the victim of a media-double standard that allowed continued reporting into ties between close associates of Trump’s and the Russian government while simultaneously casting doubt on the accusation of an illegal wiretap.
Despite Comey’s statements, earlier today White House Spokesman Sean Spicer replied that “There’s nothing that I have been told by him that would lead me to believe that anything is different than what it was prior” when asked if Trump still had confidence in Comey. He also said he was almost 100 percent certain” that Trump hadn’t spoken to Comey since he made the wiretapping allegations.
It’s still up to speculation on what Trump is basing his claims, with most assuming he’s basing the claim off a recent article that appeared in Breitbart. The New York Times referred to Comey’s actions as a “remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.”
The Justice Department has thus far ignored Comey’s request, however. This could get ugly.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]