Senators want warrants, court orders for any Trump wiretapping
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) are requesting the Justice Department and FBI hand over any potential applications for a warrant to wiretap the Trump campaign.
“We request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders … related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower,” the two senators wrote in a letter to Dana Boente, the acting deputy attorney general, and FBI Director James Comey.
The request comes after President Trump claimed on Saturday, without offering any evidence, that former President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on his campaign.
“He’s challenged the Congress to look into this, and I will, along with Sen. Whitehouse, look into whether or not there was any lawful warrant requested and received on the Trump campaign and whether or not there was any illegal activity regarding the Trump campaign,” Graham said.
Trump appeared to catch top lawmakers off guard over the weekend when he tweeted that his predecessor had his “wires tapped.”
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” he wrote.
The two senators added in their letter that, if Trump’s claim is true, they would “take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously.”
“We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower,” they wrote.
After Trump’s tweet, two sources told CNN that FBI director James Comey asked the Justice Department to shoot down Trump’s claims.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence under Obama, has pushed back as well.
“I will say that for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, as a candidate, or against his campaign,” Clapper said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Trump aides have called on Congress to investigate if the Obama administration wiretapped his campaign as part of a larger probe into Russia and the 2016 election.
The Senate and House Intelligence Committees are separately conducting an investigation into allegations that Moscow meddled in the White House race to help Trump, including any contacts between his campaign and Russia.
But Graham and Whitehouse argued that the oversight for the potential wiretaps falls under their subcommittee on crime and terrorism.
– This story was updated at 2:03 p.m.