White House doubles down on claim Trump Tower was wiretapped despite FBI congressional hearing

Tom Batchelor
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White House doubles down on claim Trump Tower was wiretapped despite FBI congressional hearing


The White House is holding firm on its claim that Barack Obama arranged for Trump Tower to be wiretapped, despite FBI Director James Comey telling a Congressional hearing he had no evidence to support the allegation.

Speaking after an extraordinary session of the House Intelligence Committee, press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “clear nothing has changed”.

"There's a lot of areas that still need to be covered," he said. "There's a lot of information that still needs to be discussed."

That was despite assurances from both Mr Comey and the National Security Agency director, Mike Rogers, that no such surveillance had taken place.

"With respect to the President's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Mr Comey said.

The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes, also said there was no evidence of a physical wiretap on the President’s New York skyscraper, although he added it was possible that "other surveillance activities" were used against Mr Trump and his associates.

And James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, has previously said that Donald Trump's allegation that Mr Obama wiretapped Trump Tower was false.

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Mr Trump’s unproven allegations against his predecessor have left him increasingly isolated, with fellow Republican as well as Democratic lawmakers saying they’ve seen nothing from intelligence agencies to support his claim.

But the White House, keen to deflect attention away from the alleged links between Russia and the Trump team, insisted it remained concerned about the activities of the intelligence agencies in monitoring Mr Trump.

The President took to Twitter before the hearing began to accuse Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates' contact with Russia during the election.

He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

"The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!" Mr Trump tweeted.

Mr Spicer also predicted the FBI’s investigation into ties between Mr Trump and Russia would draw a blank.

The claims followed Mr Comey’s first public confirmation that the FBI is investigating Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.