FBI Director James Comey has confirmed that he has "no information" to corroborate President Trump's claim that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election.
Comey was brought before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 as part of the investigation into whether Russia interfered with the 2016 campaign process, according to NBC.
Normally, the FBI is not allowed to comment on whether the organization has undertaken an investigation. However, in cases of major public interest, the bureau can make exceptions. In his opening statement, Comey said that the FBI was looking into Russian interference "as part of our counterintelligence mission," adding that he was not allowed to disclose any details.
The top Democrat on the House Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff, briefly switched the topic of conversation during the hearing, asking Comey whether Trump's accusation of wiretapping was "a true statement."
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"With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey replied, according to the Daily Mail.
Trump's publicly accused Obama of wiretapping on March 4 over Twitter, saying that Obama "tapp[ed] my phones during the very sacred election process."
The president sent out a total of six tweets in the early hours of the morning from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, all of which claimed that Obama illegally surveilled Trump throughout the 2016 campaign. The tweets called the former president a "bad (or sick) guy" and said that the wiretaps were akin to "McCarthyism."
CNN reports that to issue a wiretap, Obama would have needed a warrant against Trump. A former U.S. official with direct access to the Justice Department said that no investigators sought to monitor Trump's phones and that a wiretap would have been approved by a federal judge only if the judge suspected that Trump committed a federal crime.
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During the March 20 hearing, Comey maintained that there was no evidence to support the alleged wiretapping, and also said that the entire Department of Justice asked him to share that it has no such evidence either.
When asked whether Obama engaged in a type of "McCarthyism," Comey responded that he tries "very hard not to engage in any isms of any kind, including McCarthyism."
"I'm not going to try and characterize the tweets themselves," he continued. "All I can tell you is that we have no information that supports him."