Trump wants Congress to check whether Obama bugged his phones

US President Donald Trump accused his predecessor of bugging his phones during the presidential election campaign. Current and former senior intelligence officials have debunked the claims for which Trump offered no evidence.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

President Donald Trump (L) provided no evidence to back up his weekend claims that former president Barack Obama (R) had his phones wiretapped.

The White House on Sunday requested that the US Congress examine whether the Obama administration abused its executive "investigative authority" during the 2016 US election campaign.

The request is part of the ongoing congressional probe into Russia's influence on the presidential election.

The move came a day after President Donald Trump alleged that then-president Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of the phones in Trump Tower in New York, which served as Trump's campaign headquarters.

Trump provided no evidence to back up his claims.

Democrats accused Trump of trying to distract from the controversy about possible ties to Russia. His administration has come under pressure from FBI and congressional investigations into contacts between members of his campaign team and Russian officials.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions bowed out last week of any probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election after it emerged he met last year with Russia's ambassador while serving as a Trump campaign advisor. Sessions maintained he did nothing wrong by lying about the meetings during his congressional confirmation hearing.

Hours after Trump released several unsubstantiated statements on Saturday outlining his accusations, Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis denied the allegations as "simply false," saying the former president never ordered surveillance on any US citizen.

"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," Lewis said.

"As part of that practise, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."

TRT World spoke to Nina-Maria Potts who is following developments from Washington DC. 

Current and former senior intelligence officials debunk Trump claims

FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject Trump's wiretapping claim, the New York Times reported on Sunday citing senior US officials.

Comey said Trump’s claim was false and must be corrected but justice department had not done so, the report added.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who left his post at the end of Obama's term in office in January, also debunked Trump's claims.

"There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign," Clapper said.

TRTWorld and agencies