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US senators ask FBI, DOJ for any evidence of Trump wiretap

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Two senior senators asked the FBI and Justice Department on Wednesday for any information they have on President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that his predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

In a letter to James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wrote:

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“We request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders…related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower.”

Under U.S. law, presidents cannot direct wiretapping. Instead, the federal government can ask a court to authorize the action, but it must provide justification.

Critics of Trump in Congress have accused him of issuing the wiretap allegation to try to deflect attention from investigations into his administration’s possible ties to Russia. Some have likened it to Trump’s long-held contention that Obama was not born in the United States and thus did not legitimately hold the office of president – an accusation he did not withdraw until 2016.

Graham later told CNN that if the Justice Department does not cooperate with the senators’ request, subpoenas would be issued.

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“I expect them to come forward as to whether or not a warrant was obtained or sought,” Graham said. He chairs a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism, and Whitehouse is the senior Democrat on the panel.

On Saturday, Trump accused Obama of phone surveillance, amid a swirl of questions about possible ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin. U.S. intelligence agencies have found that Russia tried to influence the election.

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An Obama spokesman said on Saturday that neither Obama nor any White House official had ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. The spokesman’s statement did not address the possibility that a wiretap of the Trump campaign could have been sought by the Justice Department.

In their letter, Graham and Whitehouse wrote: “We would take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously.”

The senators added: “We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap of President Trump, the Trump campaign, or Trump Tower.”

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On Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters his panel would consider issuing subpoenas if information being sought on Russia’s possible role influencing the election was not forthcoming.

The committee has scheduled a March 20 hearing and Trump’s wiretap allegation is part of that probe.

Democrats, questioning the commitment of the Republican-controlled Congress, have been calling for an outside investigation, which so far has been rejected.

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(Reporting By Richard Cowan, Tim Ahmann and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘Not surprised at all that the president sides with the white nationalists’: Native American Congresswoman

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One of the first two Native America women blasted President Donald Trump for siding with white nationalists on Saturday.

Following the fatal "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017, Trump claimed there were "fine people" on both sides when he defended the alt-Right and Neo-Nazi event.

Two years later, Trump has gone even further, blaming only the anti-fascist activists confronting far-right marching in Portland, Oregon in a way that reminds many of the invasion of Charlottesville.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1162726857231544320

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) was asked about Trump's tweet by CNN's Ana Cabrera.

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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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2020 Election

‘He believes he’s a king and a dictator’: Ex-GOP congressman backs impeaching ‘unfit conman’ Trump

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President Donald Trump was blasted on MSNBC on Saturday by a former Republican congressman for being an "unfit conman."

Rev. Al Sharpton interviewed former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) about a recent New York Times op-ed he wrote calling for Trump to face a primary challenge from the right.

"There’s a strong case for President Trump to face a Republican primary challenger," Walsh wrote. "I know a thing or two about insurgencies. I entered Congress in 2011 as an insurgent Tea Party Republican."

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