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Former President Obama on Saturday denied President Trump’s accusation that Obama had Trump Tower phones tapped in the weeks before the November 2016 election.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president.
Trump made the claim in a series of early Saturday morning tweets that included the suggestion that the alleged wiretapping was tantamount to “McCarthyism” and “Nixon/Watergate.”
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism,” Trump tweeted.
“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!” he said in another tweet.
Trump also tweeted that a “good lawyer could make a great case of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
“How low has President Obama gone to tap (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” the president continued.
Trump does not specify how he uncovered the Obama administration’s alleged wiretapping.
However, he could be referencing a Breitbart article posted Friday that claimed the administration made two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) requests in 2016 to monitor Trump communications and a computer server in Trump Tower, related to possible links with Russian banks.
No evidence was found.
The article was based on a segment by radio host Mark Levin.
However, the timelines for each seems to draw from a range of news reports over the last several months, including those from The New York Times and Heat Street.
Lewis also said Saturday: “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.”
Former Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted earlier in the day: “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”
During Trump’s Saturday morning tweets, he also brought up the ongoing controversy surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his reported 2016 meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Trump said the first meeting between Sessions, a senator at the time, and Kislyak was arranged by the Obama administration.
He then said Kislayk also visited the White House nearly two dozen times during the Obama administration.
“Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jess Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone,” Trump wrote.
On Friday, Trump fought back against top Democratic lawmakers who are demanding his attorney general’s resignation over past meetings with Russia’s ambassador — after pictures emerged of the same lawmakers in similar meetings, exposing them to “hypocrisy” charges.
Trump tweeted: “I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it.
Serafin Gomez contributed to this story.
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