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John McCain orders Trump back up wire-tapping claim with evidence

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U.S. Senator John McCain on Monday called for President Donald Trump to release any evidence supporting his claim the Obama administration wiretapped him while probing Russia’s influence in the 2016 election.

“I think the president of the United States, if he has any information that would indicate that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower, then he should come forward with that information. The American people deserve it,” McCain, a Republican from Arizona, told Reuters.

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Jason Chaffetz, a Republican lawmaker who heads the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CBS in an interview on Monday that he had “not seen anything directly that would support what the president has said.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who heads the Senate Judiciary subcommittee looking into allegations Russia meddled in the election, said the panel would be asking both Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and the Justice Department whether he had told the law enforcement agency this weekend to reject Trump’s wire-tapping claim.

The White House said on Monday that Trump still has confidence in Comey despite his assertiveness in challenging Trump’s claim that the administration of former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him.

Asked whether Trump still had confidence in Comey, White House Spokesman Sean Spicer said, “There’s nothing that I have been told by him that would lead me to believe that anything is different than what it was prior.”

He was “almost 100 percent certain” Trump had not spoken to Comey since the Republican president made the allegation on Twitter on Saturday. “I’m not aware that that occurred,” Spicer told reporters.

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But, when asked during an early-morning interview on Monday with ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether Trump accepted Comey’s assertion, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “I don’t think he does.”

The FBI declined to comment on Comey’s communications.

Trump has given no evidence for his claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped. The allegation is the latest twist in a controversy over ties between Trump associates and Russia that has dogged the early days of his presidency.

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The wiretapping allegation hit U.S. stocks on Monday. Some investors worried that the affair could distract Trump from his economic agenda of introducing tax cuts and simplifying regulations that has powered a record-setting rally on Wall Street since the election.

The lack of detail on Trump’s proposals, his isolationist stance and setbacks in filling his Cabinet have made investors question whether the post-election rally has run its course.

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Democrats accused Trump of making the wiretapping claim to try to distract from controversy about possible links to Russia. His administration is facing FBI and congressional investigations into contacts between members of his campaign team and Russian officials.

The White House has asked the Republican-controlled Congress to examine, as part of an ongoing congressional probe into Russia’s influence on the election, whether the Obama administration abused its investigative authority.

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Emily Stephenson and Eric Walsh; Writing by Alistair Bell and Amanda Becker; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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