US lawmakers want evidence for wiretap claim

Lawmakers are asking the Trump administration for evidence to back up his claim that the phones at Trump Tower were tapped during the campaign.

US President Donald Trump asserted in a tweet last week: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He continued the allegation against former President Barack Obama in other tweets but offered no evidence.

A senior congressional aide said the request for evidence from the House intelligence committee was made in a letter sent by the Republican committee chairman, Devin Nunes, and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, according to the aide, who was not authorised to discuss the request by name and requested anonymity.

Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has said that nothing matching Trump’s claims had taken place, but that has not quelled speculation that Trump’s communications were monitored by the Obama administration. Trump has asked Congress to investigate.

Schiff said last week the committee would answer the president’s call to investigate the claim. He also said that he would ask FBI Director James Comey directly when he appears later this month before the full committee, which is investigating Russian activities during the election.

“We should be able to determine in fairly short order whether this allegation is true or false,” Schiff told reporters Tuesday evening at the Capitol.

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