Senate Intelligence Committee Heads: "No indication" Trump Tower was hacked

Mar 21, 2017, 00:39
Senate Intelligence Committee Heads:

There is no indication that Trump Tower was "the subject of surveillance" by the US government before or after the 2016 election, the top two members of the Senate intelligence committee said Thursday, directly contradicting President Donald Trump's claims.

Two top senators said Thursday they see "no indications" that Trump Tower was surveilled "by any element of the United States government", in one of the most definitive bipartisan rejections to date of President Trump's wiretapping allegation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that "no such wiretap existed", citing intelligence reports to House leaders after President Donald Trump accused then-President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower past year.

The leaders say FBI Director James Comey and the head of the National Security Agency will testify at a public hearing on March 20. However, that segment - and a few more news articles the White House has provided as evidence - discusses unproven allegations that the Federal Bureau of Investigation requested warrants to surveil Trump associates.

Despite agreeing there was "no physical wiretap" at Trump Tower Nunes said it was unclear what other surveillance evidence there might be on Trump or any of his associates.

The Republican president, without providing evidence, has accused his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, of wiretapping him near the end of the campaign.

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"I had been reading about things" that mentioned wiretapping, he said. Quigley referred to his resolution as "a task not welcomed but necessitated by the President's seemingly baseless accusations that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential campaign" when he introduced the resolution on Thursday. This immediately sent Trump's defendersinto twisting themselves into rhetorical pretzels suggesting Trump never said such a thing or was misunderstood - and a statement by White House press spokesman Sean Spicer is expected soon.

Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone says he believes his contacts with a Russian-linked hacker who took credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee may have been obtained through a FISA warrant. Spicer meanwhile, insisted the Intelligence Committee's statement issued today is a progress report, not the final word, because "they have yet to go through the information".

Over in the House, Mr. Nunes has begun a similar inquiry into the Kremlin's behind-the-scenes attempts to influence the presidential election in Mr. Trump's favor.

James Clapper, the longtime director of national intelligence under Obama, has said Trump's home and office were not wiretapped before the presidential election a year ago. "Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" he tweeted.

"Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election?" he said in another tweet.

"I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this", Merkel said in remarks at the pair's joint news conference, a reference perhaps to Trump's campaign criticism that Merkel's open-doors refugee policy had destroyed Germany. Turned down by court earlier. "This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad guy!", Trump tweeted.