The heads of multiple U.S. government agencies just stated definitively that they’ve found no evidence to back up Donald Trump’s claims that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.
Neither the FBI, the NSA, or the Department of Justice can substantiate Trump’s claims — which he first tweeted on the morning of Saturday, March 4, according to testimony during a House Intelligence Committee hearing Monday.
“The FBI and the Department of Justice have no information to support those tweets,” FBI Director James Comey said.
National Security Agency head and Navy Adm. Mike Rogers also said he has no evidence that the NSA was involved in any wiretapping. “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity,” Rogers told the committee.
Rogers also said he could not support any claims that British intelligence officials had a hand in any wiretapping, referencing a comment at a press briefing last week: Press Secretary Sean Spicer referenced a Fox News’ analyst’s sensational claim that the U.K. was involved, prompting a “he said, she said” standoff between the two countries about whether the U.S. formally apologized.
Comey also pointed out that there’s no way for a president to unilaterally authorize a wiretap of any individual. The FBI must initiate a request for a wiretap warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Department of Justice attorneys must then present that request to a court for approval.
While the hearing is focused on Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election and the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia, lawmakers also quickly sought to dispel any remaining support for Trump’s allegations.
Trump’s March 4 tweet alleging he was the target of Obama administration wiretapping said “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
Since then, the president has doubled down on his claim multiple times without evidence, leaving White House officials scrambling for a range of explanations — from microwaves that turn into cameras to Spicer’s 10-minute rant last week. None, however, could offer any proof, while they continued to demand an investigation.
Comey and Roger’s denials were unsurprising, since lawmakers across the political divide have repeatedly said there’s no evidence to back up Trump’s claims. Even the House Intelligence Committee chairman, California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, told Fox News Sunday that he hadn’t seen any evidence of a warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign headquarters.
“Let me be clear. I’ve been saying this for several weeks: We know there was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower,” Nunes said at the hearing. “However, it’s still possible that other surveillance tactics were used against President Trump and his associates.”