The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, has stated he has yet to see evidence to corroborate President Donald Trump's accusation that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his presidential campaign.
On March 4, Trump took to social media to allege the Obama administration had wiretapped his presidential campaign in Trump Tower during the presidential race.
"Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory... This is McCarthyism!" Trump tweeted. The president did not offer evidence to support his accusation.
On March 6, Chaffetz, who chairs a committee that typically investigates abuses of power, said that he had not seen the evidence that Obama had illegally wiretapped the Trump campaign.
"Thus far, I have not seen anything directly that would support what the president has said," Chaffetz told CBS News. The Utah lawmaker added that such evidence may emerge in the future.
"It's a very serious allegation," Chaffetz continued. "The president has at his fingertips tens of billions of dollars in intelligence apparatus. I got to believe, I think, [Trump] might have something there, but if not, we're going to find out."
Chaffetz noted that the Obama administration would require a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, approved by a court, to legally wiretap the Trump campaign. If such a warrant was issued, Chaffetz concluded "the paper trail should be there ... I think it's premature to say there's no backing evidence."
The Utah lawmaker said any investigation into the matter would be spearheaded by the House Intelligence Committee while his Oversight Committee "will play a supporting role."
On March 4, Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis denied that the former president ever ordered a wiretap against Trump or any other American civilian.
"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," Lewis said.
Shortly after Trump made his accusation, FBI Director James Comey had requested the DOJ to publicly rebut the president's statement, asserting that the allegation is without evidence. The DOJ declined to issue such a statement.
On March 5, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida asserted that the Intelligence Committee would clarify whether the accusation was true in short time.
"I'm not sure what it is [Trump] is talking about," Rubio told CNN. "Perhaps the president has information that is not yet available to use or to the public. And if it's true, obviously we're going to find out very quickly. And if it isn't, then obviously he'll have to explain what he meant by it."