House intelligence chief has seen no evidence to back Trump’s wiretap charge
The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee said on Tuesday he had seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s allegation he was wiretapped by then-President Barack Obama during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Republican Representative Devin Nunes told reporters that if Trump’s assertion were true, the leaders of Congress and the chairman of its two intelligence committees, known collectively as the “Gang of Eight,” should have been briefed.
“I have not seen that evidence,” Nunes said when asked about Trump’s charge. “I think the bigger question that needs to be answered is whether or not Mr. Trump or any of his associates were in fact targeted by any of the intelligence agencies or law enforcement authorities.”
“At this point, we don’t have any evidence of that,” he said.
Trump made the accusation in a series of early morning tweets on Saturday, without providing any evidence. A spokesman for Obama said it was not true.
Trump has since pressed the House and Senate intelligence committees to expand already planned probes into allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election to look into his charge. Nunes previously said his panel would examine the evidence.
“We are supposed to be kept up to speed on any pertinent counterintelligence investigation,” Nunes said of the Gang of Eight. “If Trump or any other political campaign, or anybody associated with Trump, was under some type of investigation, that clearly should have risen to the Gang of Eight level.”
Nunes said his committee planned to hold a series of public hearings as part of its Russia probe, beginning with a session on March 20 at which FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, had been called to testify.
He said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates were also among those invited to appear.
“At this time, we are not going to subpoena anyone for that March 20th hearing,” Nunes said. “But if we have to, we will subpoena all information that is pertinent to this investigation if people either … don’t want to appear or if the appropriate agencies do not provide the information we ask for.”
(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Peter Cooney)