White House Spokesperson Says Trump Doesn’t Believe Comey’s Denial of Obama Wiretapping Claims

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (C) shakes hands with James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a “hallmark of our democracy.” (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

President Trump is questioning FBI Director James Comey’s reported assertion that Trump is wrong to claim that predecessor Barack Obama had him wiretapped during last year’s election.

Asked on ABC’s Good Morning America whether the president accepts Comey’s statement that Obama did not authorize any wiretaps, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said: “You know, I don’t think he does.”

This past weekend, Comey sought a public rebuke from the Justice Department of Trump’s accusation that Obama ordered the surveillance of Trump’s phones prior to the election in connection with an investigation into Russian activities, a U.S. official confirmed Sunday to USA TODAY.

Lawmakers and government officials said they are unaware of any Obama-authorized wiretap, and it would be illegal for any president to do that in any case.

James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence last year, told NBC’s Meet The Press that to his knowledge the special court that handles these cases did not authorize surveillance of Trump Tower, the New York office that housed the Republican candidate’s campaign.

Clapper also said he saw no evidence of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Democrats said that, in accusing Obama, Trump is either spinning a baseless conspiracy theory or seeking to distract people from the Russia investigation that could involve the president and some of his campaign associates. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, said that “I think it’s him acting in a pretty crazy way.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, David Jackson and Kevin Johnson