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President Trump accuses Fmr. Pres. Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower

Posted on March 04 2017

 

President Trump made bombshell allegations early Saturday morning, saying that former President Barack Obama was responsible for wiretapping communications at Trump Tower in NYC during the election campaign. The accusations came in a series of tweets from Trump, which the President has used for rapid communication with the American people throughout the campaign and his first months in office.

President Trump did not include details about how he learned of the alleged wiretapping, or what evidence he has for the claims, and further information is anticipated from the White House. If Trump's claims are correct, the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by a sitting President Obama to listen in on communications of a political opponent would indeed be the most explosive political scandal since Watergate, which resulted in the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. President Ford, Nixon's successor, pardoned Nixon following the investigation, however 40 administration officials faced criminal charges for secretly spying on the Democratic National Convention during the election of 1972.

President Trump is not the first to accuse Mr. Obama and his political associates of deliberately sabotaging Trump's campaign and incoming administration, despite the warm relationship both men presented on camera during the transition process. The President may be referring to a recent article from Breitbart and others news outlets which have reported that the Obama administration made two FISA requests in 2016 to tap Trump campaign communications, and to monitor a computer server in Trump Tower in search of possible links with Russian banks. No evidence of such connections is known at this time.

Former President Obama released a brief statement on Saturday afternoon in response to the allegations from Mr. Trump. "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 Mr. Obama. "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.”

The flat denial from the former president came with a note of caution from his former speech writer, Jon Favreau. "I'd be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the WH ordered it," Favreau tweeted shortly after the statement from his former boss was released. The comment could be taken several ways. One interpretation could be that there was a FISA wiretap of Trump, though not ordered by the White House directly. Whether the alleged surveillance was legally initiated is yet unknown.

President Trump also continued his push back at Democrats who have called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign after learning of meetings Sessions had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while Sessions served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Trump has already highlighted several similar meetings between top Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and others, despite statements that such meetings are irregular behavior for a member of Congress.

“Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jess Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone,” the President added during the Twitter firestorm Saturday morning.