US President Donald Trump on Saturday accused his predecessor Barack Obama of "wiretapping" his phone just before last year's presidential elections.
Trump made the claim on Twitter, failing to mention whether the information was part of a briefing or in the public domain.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
However, one tweet was not enough. Trump followed with a volley of messages, 140 characters long or less.
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
The matter escalated quickly as Trump called Obama a "bad or sick man":
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump also took the opportunity to publicly defend US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is under fire from the public, Republicans and Democrats for being in contact with the Russian ambassador to the US twice during Trump's election campaign.
A report carried by the Washington Post revealed Sessions had met Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak twice. However, at his confirmation hearing last month, he denied any contact with Russian officials during the election campaign, the report added.
Trump in another tweet said Sessions' first meeting with the Russian Ambassador was arranged by the Obama Administration. He went on to say this:
Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump's administration has come under pressure from FBI and congressional investigations into links between some of his aides and campaign staff, and Russian officials before he was elected president. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned in February after revelations that he had discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak before Trump took office.
Trump has often used his Twitter account to attack rivals and for years led a campaign alleging that Obama was not born in the US. He later retracted the allegation.