Two U.S. senators requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide any information related to the allegation of President Donald Trump that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“We request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders—redacted as necessary to protect intelligence sources and methods that may be compromised by disclosure, and to protect any ongoing investigations—related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower,” wrote Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in a letter to FBI Director James Comey and DOJ Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.
Senators Graham and Whitehouse serve as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
The lawmakers also emphasized, “We would take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously.”
Under the U.S. federal law, the President cannot order wiretapping. The federal government is required to seek a court order allowing the surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The court must find probable cause to authorize the action.
Sen. Graham told CNN that he is ready to subpoena the DOJ and FBI for evidence that supports Trump’s claim. He said, “All I can say is that the country needs an answer to this. The current President has accused the former President of basically wiretapping his campaign.”
No evidence of wiretapping
The FBI Director recently stated that Trump’s wiretapping allegation was false and must be corrected. He requested the DOJ to refute his accusation against Obama publicly.
Some Republican lawmakers including Cong. Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy also stated that have not seen any evidence that the Obama administration wiretapped the Trump Tower. They believe that if such activity occurred, there would be a paper trail and the DOJ could release it.
In an interview with CNN, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees said she had not seen any evidence that Obama ordered wiretapping Trump’s phone.
“It’s all rather shocking to me that a sitting president would make this kind of an allegation about a former president without any proof whatsoever. I believe it’s patently false,” said Feinstein.
Obama irked by Trump’s wiretapping allegation
People close to Obama told CNN that the former president was irked and exasperated by Trump’s wiretapping claim.
A related report from NBC news indicated that a source who requested anonymity said Obama “rolled his eyes” after learning Trump’s unproven allegation.
The source added that Obama believes Trump’s claim “undermine the integrity of the office of the president,” but does not undermine his integrity because he did not order the wiretapping.
Furthermore, the source said Obama is “much more concerned by President Trump kicking people off their health insurance, not staffing the government, not being prepared for a crisis, rolling back regulations so that corporations can pollute the air and water and letting mentally unstable people buy guns with no problems whatsoever.”
On Saturday, a spokesman for Obama said the “neither the former president or any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
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