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Trump Demands Congress Investigate Obama’s ‘Wiretapping’ against him | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump. (AFP)

Washington – A team at the US Congress will investigate President Donald Trump’s accusation that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped him during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

The White House asked a Congressional committee to examine whether the Obama administration abused its investigative authority during the 2016 US presidential campaign, as part of an ongoing congressional probe into Russia’s influence on the election.

Congressman Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced on Sunday that “the Committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.”

Trump’s request that Congress open an investigation came after he tweeted on Saturday: “How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

For his part, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under Obama, told NBC: “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign.”

At least three committees at the House of Representatives and the Senate are currently investigating Russia’s intervention in the US presidential elections, which sought to help Trump win against his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Despite the absence of evidence to back up Trump’s claims, the president’s accusations drove a wave of doubts among the US political ranks.

Press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump was calling on Congress to “determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”

The Obama administration had accused Russia of meddling in the US presidential elections last year by hacking emails of Clinton’s aides.

Trump’s administration also came under pressure from FBI and congressional investigations concerning contacts made between members of his campaign team and Russian officials.

Last month, White House national security adviser, Michael Flynn resigned after revelations that he had discussed US sanctions with the Russian ambassador in Washington before Trump took office and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Al Franken, the Minnesota Democratic senator, told ABC on Sunday that Trump’s assertion that Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 election campaign are “just ridiculous and a distraction.”