A day after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of targeting him with a campaign year wiretap, the White House requested that Congress investigate the charge, as the President’s chief spokesman said there would be no further comment from Mr. Trump or his administration subordinates about the allegation.
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” the statement began, with the White House asking that lawmakers determine if “executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
No evidence was offered by the President, the White House or the Trump Administration to support the extraordinary charge against the ex-President, as President Trump again used Twitter on Sunday to lash out against the previous administration on the issue of Russian relations.
Republicans in Congress were nearly silent about the President’s charge of election year wiretapping of Mr. Trump, an allegation that had received new attention late last week from news organizations considered more friendly to the Trump Administration.
“I’m not sure what the genesis of that statement was,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told CNN, when asked about the President’s claim that he had been wiretapped by the Obama Administration.
“This allegation has serious implications,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), one of the few GOP lawmakers to address the matter. “POTUS should provide more info to Congress immediately to assess constitutionality and legality,” Amash wrote on Twitter.
But there was none of that on Sunday from administration aides, only the request for an investigation into the claim by Congressional committees which are already looking into questions surrounding Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any possible links to the Trump campaign.
As for whether there was a wiretap, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, denied on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that anything like that had been approved.
Critics of Clapper, who left the job of DNI when President Trump took office, rightly noted that Clapper had one time publicly misled the Congress about U.S. Intelligence programs, as they tried to undermine his answers related to Mr. Trump.
On Capitol Hill, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), said his panel would check on the President’s allegation that his campaign was targeted in 2016 by investigators.
As for Democrats, they pointed the finger back at the President.
“So what I find so strange and I thought the President’s comments could no longer surprise me, but boy, this one yesterday surprised me,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) told the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
“To make that type of claim without any evidence is, I think, very reckless,” added Warner, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.