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donald trump and barack obama

President Donald Trump is standing by his claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in 2016.

The president told Fox News a “wiretap covers a lot of different things” and hinted more could emerge in the coming weeks.

Barack Obama has denied the charge and former spy chiefs and several lawmakers have said they have seen no evidence.

The latest senior figure to cast doubt on the allegation was the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes.

He said on March 15 he doesn’t believe “there was an actual tap of Trump Tower”.

Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted that President Obama had wiretapped his phones during the presidential campaign.

In a series of tweets, Donald Trump accused his predecessor directly, asking: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be <<wire tapping>> a race for president?”

Image source Wikipedia

Talking to Fox News in an interview that was broadcast in full on March 15, he made his first comments about the wiretap accusation he made two weeks ago.

Donald Trump said: “Wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”

Despite repeated requests from reporters, the White House has not provided any evidence to support his claim.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said President Trump “used the word <<wiretap>> in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities”.

Sean Spicer also said that President Trump was not accusing Barack Obama personally.

Donald Trump asked Congress to examine the allegation as part of an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is leading the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of allegations of Trump-Russia ties, has pressed the FBI to come forward with more details of its own probe into the issue.

Lindsey Graham said on March 15 he would use a court order to force FBI Director James Comey to submit details on its Russian investigation and whether there was any evidence of Donald Trump’s phones being wiretapped.

James Comey promised on March 15 to provide answers in a classified briefing.

Intelligence agencies found that Russia conducted cyber-attacks against the Democratic Party as part of an effort to influence the election in Donald Trump’s favor.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Donald Trump has been dogged by claims that his advisers and staff had ties to Russian officials, but there has been no evidence of any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

President Donald Trump’s accusation that Barack Obama ordered his phones to be tapped is “simply false”, the former president’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, has said.

Kevin Lewis said that “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen”.

President Trump had tweeted: “Terrible! Just found out Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

The president gave no details to back the claim.

In his statement, Kevin Lewis said 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”.

Image source AP

The statement left open the possibility that a judicial investigation was taking place.

Earlier Ben Rhodes, who was President Obama’s foreign policy adviser and speechwriter, also addressed Donald Trump’s claims in a tweet, saying: “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”

Donald Trump, who is at his Florida resort, fired off a series of tweets from just after 06:30 local time on March 4.

The president called the alleged tapping “a new low” and said “This is Nixon/Watergate” – referring to the most notorious political scandal of 1972, which led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon after a web of political spying, sabotage and bribery was exposed by the media.

McCarthyism, which Donald Trump referred to in one of the first posts, relates to the persecution for US Communists and their allies led by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s.

The tweets followed allegations made by conservative radio host Mark Levin, which were later picked up by Breitbart News, the website run by Steve Bannon before he became Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

Mark Levin said there should be a congressional investigation into what he called President Obama’s “police state” tactics in his last months in office to undermine Donald Trump’s campaign.

Breitbart summarizes Mark Levin’s accusations, which say that “the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA (National Security Agency) rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government”.

President Trump has come under constant pressure from FBI and congressional investigations into alleged contacts between his aides and Russian officials during the election campaign.