House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes said Sunday he has still seen no evidence to show Trump Tower was wiretapped after reviewing information from the Department of Justice.
“Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, there never was,” the California Republican representative told “Fox News Sunday.”
It marks another rebuke of President Donald Trump’s explosive claim that the Obama administration tapped his phones ahead of the 2016 election, which he stood by as recently as Friday. The White House has defended Trump’s accusation even amid rebuttals from top congressional leaders and a key foreign ally.
The Department of Justice said Friday it turned over information congressional committees sought on the allegation. Top lawmakers asked for any evidence of potential court orders or warrants related to Trump, his campaign surrogates, family or friends.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the intelligence committee’s Democratic ranking member, said Sunday he expects FBI Director James Comey to rebut Trump’s claim at a hearingMonday. The hearing is related to the committee’s ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I expect that he will.And I hope that we can put at end to this wild goose chase because what thepresident said was just patently false. And the wrecking ball it created has banged into our British allies, our German allies,” Schiff told “Meet the Press.”
Nunes said Sunday he is not aware of a foreign intelligence surveillance warrant to monitor Trump. He added that “if you take the president literally, it didn’t happen.”
However, he noted that he remains concerned about “other surveillance activities,” referencing the communications related to formerNational Security Advisor Michael Flynn that were leaked. Flynn’scontradictions to White House officials about his calls with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., led to his resignation.
Trump did not back down from the wiretapping accusation on Friday.
“On wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference. The National Security Agency allegedly monitored phone calls involving Merkel and her aides, straining relations with Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.
That statement came just after key senators said Thursday they did not have evidence to support Trump’s wiretapping accusation.
“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” the statement by Republican Chairman Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Mark Warner, the committee’s Democratic vice chairman, said.
Nunes and Schiff both said last week that they did not have evidence to support the wiretapping accusation. Nunes said he did not “think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.”
The White House and its allies in recent days have attempted to change the interpretation of Trump’s explosive tweets from earlier this month. In four separate statements on Twitter, Trump said he was the target of a wiretap.
In two of those, Trump put quotes around the term, which White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said means he may not have meant it literally. Still, in one of those tweets, Trump called it a “fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October.”
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
Spicer argued Thursday that Trump referred to “broad surveillance,” not a physical wiretap. He contended that reporters have focused too much on the president’s accusation, which he made without citing evidence, and not statements denying that Trump campaign officials had ties with Russian officials.
Nunes said Sunday he has not seen evidence to show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.