Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona has called on President Donald Trump to either produce evidence to substantiate his accusation that his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, had ordered a wiretap of his campaign, or to retract his statements on the matter altogether.
On March 12, McCain asserted that Trump could quickly substantiate his accusation by using his authority as president and that he should produce any available evidence that the Obama administration had illegally ordered a wiretap against him if any such surveillance had taken place.
"I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the President of the United States could clear this up in a minute," McCain told CNN. "All he has to do is pick up the phone, call the director of the CIA, director of national intelligence and say, 'Okay, what happened?'"
On March 4, Trump ignited controversy when he took to social media to accuse Obama of ordering a wiretap against his 2016 presidential campaign before the election.
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"Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory," Trump tweeted out.
The president added that he believed that the alleged surveillance had been carried out in an illegal manner.
"How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process," Trump continued. "This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"
The White House has yet to produce evidence to verify Trump's accusation, instead calling on congressional committees to investigate the matter.
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In McCain's view, Trump must resolve the controversy immediately by either producing the evidence to back up his accusation or retract it altogether.
"The president has one of two choices: Either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve," McCain said. "Because if his predecessor violated the law -- President Obama violated the law -- we've got a serious issue here, to say the least."
The Arizona lawmaker also asserted that congressional committees investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election must examine the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
"There's a lot of aspects of this whole relationship... that requires further scrutiny, and so far, I don't think the American people have gotten all the answers," McCain said. "In fact, I think there's a lot more shoes to drop from this centipede."
As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain concluded that the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia "clearly cries out for investigations, but I would also point out, we should not assume guilt until we have a thorough investigation."
McCain has previously called for the Trump administration to disclose any proof that Obama had ordered an illegal wiretap of Trump Tower. On March 6, the Arizona lawmaker told reporters on Capitol Hill that it was vital that the public be provided with proof of the accusation.
"The American people should demand it," McCain said, according to Politico. "The dimensions of this are huge... I have never heard of a President of the United States accusing his predecessor or any other president of the United States of violating the law."
The White House has until March 13 to provide the House Intelligence Committee with any evidence pertaining to Trump's accusation. On March 12, the committee ranking member, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, asserted that no evidence would be provided because he believes that the accusation was not true.
"I don't expect we're going to see any evidence... There are two possibilities here," Schiff told ABC News. "Either the president quite deliberately, for some reason, made up the charge. Or perhaps, more disturbing, the president really believes this."