Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Obama intel director on wiretap: 'I can deny it'

Published:Sunday | March 5, 2017 | 3:39 AM
Former US President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's claim that then-President Barack Obama had Trump's telephones tapped during last year's election (all times EST):

10:05 a.m.

The former director of national intelligence in the Obama administration denies there was a secret court order for surveillance at Trump Tower.

James Clapper says that in the national intelligence activity he oversaw, "there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, as a candidate or against his campaign."

Clapper says as intelligence director he would have known about a "FISA court order on something like this. Absolutely, I can deny it."

He left the White House on January 20 when Trump took office.

Clapper's comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday came after President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in the last stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has provided no basis for his allegations.

___

10:00 a.m.

Sen. Marco Rubio is on the Senate Intelligence Committee and he says the White House "will have to answer as to what exactly" President Donald Trump was referring to when he claimed former President Barack Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped during the 2016 presidential election.

Presidents cannot order the surveillance of private citizens.

Rubio — a Florida Republican who ran against Trump last year — was interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press."

___

9:55 a.m.

The top House Democrat says it's "just ridiculous" for President Donald Trump to claim that former President Barack Obama would ever have ordered any wiretap of an American citizen.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi says "we don't do that" and she calls the charge a "smear."

The White House now wants Congress to investigate whether executive powers were abused in connection with the 2016 election.

Pelosi tells CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is following the playbook of making something up, having the media report it and then saying everybody is writing about it.

The California Democrat says that's "a tool of an authoritarian" — to always having people "talking about what you want them to be talking about."

___

9:50 a.m.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for a congressional investigation of allegations that the former Obama administration ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower during the last presidential campaign. But Sanders refused to say where the current president got his information or why he blamed the former president.

Sanders says on ABC's "This Week": "If they're going to investigate Russia ties, let's include this as part of it. That's what we're asking."

Sanders would not elaborate on what the president meant, saying his tweets speak for themselves. She also would not say exactly where the president got his information.

Without being specific, Sanders says Trump is "going off information that he's seen that have led him to believe that. ... And if it is, this is the greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power that I think we've ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself."

___

9:15 a.m.

The White House says it wants the congressional committees that are investigating Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election to also examine whether "executive branch investigative powers" were abused in 2016.

That's a reference to President Donald Trump's claim in a series of Saturday tweets that former President Barack Obama had telephones at Trump Tower wiretapped.

Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama's spokesman has denied it.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer says there'll be no further White House comment until the committees conclude their work.