Justice Dept. refuses to back up Sean Spicer’s claim that Trump is not under investigation
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to confirm Sean Spicer’s claims that President Donald Trump was not under investigation.
Trump claimed last weekend that former President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on his campaign, but has thus far not offered any proof, and the president has asked the U.S. Congress to investigate his own allegations.
Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters Wednesday that “there is no reason we have to think that the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever,” although some of his campaign aides remain under investigation for their alleged ties to Russia.
A Justice Department official told the New York Times that there was no indication that anyone in the federal agency had offered that assurance to the White House, but the official declined to comment on whether Trump was the target of an investigation.
“No comment,” said the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly refute Trump’s claims of being wiretapped by Obama, but the agency has so far declined to do so.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked Comey and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last month to walk back reports of alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Russia, but both law enforcement officials refused.
Spicer, the press secretary, personally connected reporters from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) to discredit reports about those alleged communications.
He also gave reporters’ phone numbers to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who agreed to make the calls but was too busy to do so.
Trump’s tweets, and his ignorance of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that could have been used to secure a wiretap warrant, prompted Comey and James Clapper, who served as Obama’s last director of national intelligence, to dispute some reporting on Russian ties.
Clapper said no evidence existed when he left his post in January of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Comey said no FISA warrants had been issued against Trump or his campaign.
John Brennan, who served as Obama’s CIA director, declined to answer questions Sunday about evidence of the Trump campaigns ties to Russia.