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US Senate dumps Trump's wiretapping claim, White House stands by him

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17 March 2017

Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate intelligence committee have rubbished President Donald Trump's claim that Barack Obama placed Trump Tower under surveillance during the elections.

However, despite the bipartisan agreement that there is no evidence to back up the President's unproven accusations that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper, White House has stood by the President's statement.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that Trump "stands by" the four tweets that sparked a firestorm that has threatened the President's credibility with politicians.

Richard Burr (Republican North Carolina) and Mark Warner (Democrat Virginia) reported 'no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance' following similar assessment by House counterparts.

''Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after election day 2016,'' the two senators said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Also, both Republican and Democrat leaders on the House intelligence committee - Republican Devin Nunes and Democrat Adam Schiff - both of California arrived at the same conclusion on Wednesday.

''We don't have any evidence that took place,'' said Nunes, a crucial Trump ally and member of his national security transition team, who nevertheless fanned the flames of Trump's theory in a press conference.

''Are you going to take the tweets literally? And if you are, then clearly the president was wrong. But if you're not going to take the tweets literally and there is a concern that the president has about other people, other surveillance activities looking at him and his associates, either appropriately or inappropriately. We want to find that out,'' Nunes said.

Trump, without elaborating on his evidence-free accusation, made on Twitter on 4 March, said Obama ordered surveillance of his eventual successor.

Trump made a series of tweets calling Obama a ''bad (or sick) guy'' for an allegation that, from the start, US officials called groundless and Obama unequivocally denied.

''Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!'' Trump tweeted.

Trump's claim amounted to an accusation that Obama and the security services had committed a felony as under the law, the President of the United States does not have the power to order Americans surveilled while security agencies require a court order for surveillance on terrorists or on US citizens.

Trump, in a Fox News interview on Wednesday, did not back down from the accusation but misattributed it to a New York Times report in January about intercepted communications and financial records concerning Trump associates and Russian officials.





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