Trump won't accept FBI denial of his wiretapping accusations
Donald Trump seems decided to escalate his war with the F.B.I over his unsubstantiated claim that the Obama Administration wiretapped the phones inside the Trump Tower before the election last year.
After an agitated weekend, which started early Saturday morning with the US President tweeting a series of accusations about President Obama, writing that "he just found out" that Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower before the election, followed by a statement by the F.B.I. director James Comey saying that the accusations claim were unsubstantiated and false, the White House has decided to reject the FBI director assertions, putting the US Administration again at odds with the Justice.
“How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process,” one of Trump's tweet said, suggesting that the F.B.I could have been involved in the wiretapping. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Comey responded by pushing the Justice Department to publicly refute the president’s claim. It is not clear who would make such a statement, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last week from the ongoing federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
However, the White House has admitted that Donald Trump does not know what type of surveillance he is alleging he was put under by Barack Obama, despite a tweet on Saturday explicitly saying his phone was tapped.
Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary, argued that there is “substantial reporting” to show the issue merits congressional investigation, but did not identify Trump’s sources, as reported in The Guardian.
Previous media reports have suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) court granted a warrant to enable the FBI to conduct surveillance of “US persons” in an investigation of possible contacts between Russian banks and the Trump Organization.
The Guardian reported that the FBI applied for a Fisa warrant over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus.
According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.
“I think that there’s no question that something happened. The question is, is it surveillance, is it a wiretap, or whatever?", said Spicer.
Democrat Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House, has accused Trump of behaving like an autocrat. “It’s called a wrap-up smear,” she said. “You make up something. Then you have the press write about it. And then you say, everybody is writing about this charge. It’s a tool of an authoritarian.” As reported in The Guardian.