The top Republican and Democrat on the House intelligence committee said they have still not seen any evidence to support Donald Trump’s extraordinary claim that Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower.
“We don’t have any evidence that that took place and in fact I don’t believe – just in the last week of time, the people we’ve talked to – I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” the committee chairman, Devin Nunes, a Republican from California and a supporter of Trump’s campaign, said during a joint press conference with the panel’s top Democrat on Wednesday.
The committee has asked that the justice department provide information by 20 March.
The California representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the committee, called Trump’s allegation “patently untrue” and urged the president to either clarify or retract his allegation.
“I would hope if we get to March 20 and if we have the testimony that I think we all expect from the [FBI] director that there was no substance to the accusation that Barack Obama illegally wiretapped Trump Tower, that the president explain himself,” Schiff said during a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. “You can’t level an accusation of that type without retracting it or explaining just why it was done.”
Nunes said the veracity of Trump’s statement depended on whether the president’s tweets were taken literally.
“Are you going to take the tweets literally?” Nunes said. “If you are, then clearly the president was wrong.”
Trump made the accusation against his predecessor in a series of tweets two weekends ago, and offered no evidence to substantiate the claims.
The press conference comes one day after the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said Trump was “extremely confident” that the justice department would produce evidence to the House committee that supported the president’s accusation.