White House struggles to fill Trump’s silence on wiretap claims – CBS News
The White House said Wednesday it does not believe the president is under investigation by the FBI.
The question came up because of President Trump’s insistence that his phones were tapped during the campaign — on orders from President Obama.
Mr. Trump has not taken a question from reporters in the five days since he called the wiretapping allegation a “fact” and called Mr. Obama a “bad or sick guy.”
The FBI is investigating contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. One top official told us that so far no evidence of collusion has been uncovered.
FBI Director James Comey repudiated Mr. Trump’s wiretapping charge. The president’s staff has struggled to fill his silence with an explanation.
“Is the president the target of a counterintelligence investigation?” asked CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.
“I think that’s what we need to find out …The president has made clear he has no interest in Russia and yet a lot of these stories that come out with respect to that are, frankly, fake,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
“So he doesn’t know whether he is the target of a probe or not?” Brennan asked.
“No, no. I think that’s one of the issues we have asked the Senate and House to look into,” Spicer responded.
“Are you saying there is the possibility he is the target of a counterintelligence probe involving …” Brennan pushed.
“No, no, no, I think what I’m saying is there is a difference between that narrative and then the narrative that has been perpetuated over and over again,” Spicer responded. “The concern that the president has and why he asks the Senate and House intelligence committees to look into this is to get to the bottom of what may or may not have occurred during the 2016 election.”
The Press Secretary was then handed a piece of paper. And he clarified “and there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the Department of Justice”
The White House says that Mr. Trump may have been swept up in surveillance that was not directly targeted at him, though the president has claimed it was his phones that were tapped. An allegation denied by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign,” Clapper said.
On Wednesday, Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting copies of any warrant applications and court orders related to wiretaps of Mr. Trump and his campaign.
“We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap,” they added.
Now, former President Obama has denied President Trump’s allegations, which seemingly ended their otherwise cordial relationship. Aides to President Obama say that while he found the accusation upsetting, he’s now pretty relaxed about it.(CBS News)
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