Sunday, 5 March 2017

White House demands probe into Trump´s `wire tapping´ claims

The White House is demanding that a probe into Russian interference in last year’s US presidential election also examine claims that former President Barack Obama had telephones at Trump Tower wire tapped.

White House officials said they want the congressional committees to determine whether “executive branch investigative powers” were abused in 2016 – a reference to President Donald Trump’s claim of wire tapping in a series of tweets on Saturday.

Mr Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, denied by Mr Obama’s spokesman.

He made the allegations in a series of tweets claiming he “just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said a “cardinal rule” of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered in any Justice Department investigations, which are supposed to be conducted free of political influence.

“As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen,” Mr Lewis said, adding that “any suggestion otherwise is simply false”.

Mr Trump compared the alleged activity to behaviour involving president Richard Nixon and the bugging of his political opponents.

Mr Trump said the wire tapping occurred in October. He ran the presidential transition largely out of Trump Tower in New York, where he also maintains a residence.

The call for an investigation came after clashes broke out as hundreds of people gathered at sites around the US to join rallies backing Mr Trump.

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