Cybersecurity

Trump administration wants more time to give Intel committee wiretapping proof

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President Trump’s administration has asked for more time to comply with a House Intelligence Committee request for evidence substantiating Trump’s claims of wiretapping.
 
The Monday evening request came hours before the committee-set midnight deadline. 
 
“This afternoon, the Department of Justice placed calls to representatives of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to ask for additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist,” the DOJ letter read. 
 
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) office confirmed the request in a statement, and said the delay could force the committee to “resort to a compulsory process if our questions continue to go unanswered.”
 
“The Department of Justice has asked for more time to comply with the House Intelligence Committee’s request for information related to possible surveillance of Donald Trump or his associates during the election campaign,” Nunes’ statement said. 
 
{mosads}”We have asked the Department to provide us this information before the Committee’s open hearing scheduled for March 20. If the committee does not receive a response by then, the Committee will ask for this information during the March 20 hearing and may resort to a compulsory process if our questions continue to go unanswered.”
 
Ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) weighed in on the delay on Twitter.  
 
On Wednesday, Nunes and the top Democrat on the committee sent the White House a request to provide evidence that, as Trump tweeted on March 4, “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.” 
 
They asked the White House to send over any information backing up those accusations by Monday. 
 
Though he didn’t give any information to back up his claims, Trump equated the allegations to McCarthyism and the Watergate scandal.
 
The tweets put his own administration and Republican lawmakers in a bind over how to respond.
 
It is unclear why Trump believes he might have been wiretapped, but his statements came soon after a conservative radio host detailed allegations about the Obama administration surveilling Trump, which were then published by Breitbart News. 
 
Many Republicans have denied seeing any evidence, including House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Oversight member Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Senate Intelligence Committee members Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). 
 
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper outright denied the allegation. FBI Director James Comey was reportedly outraged by Trump’s statements and pressed the Justice Department to debunk them right away. 
 
While there are a variety of legal ways Trump may have had some calls recorded during the campaign — if the Department of Justice received a warrant from the FISA court to intercept all the now-president’s calls or was tapping someone else who spoke with Trump — Obama would not have been directly involved. 
 
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have each noted that if Trump was being recorded, he may have implicated himself in a larger scandal. 
 
Soon after Trump sent his tweets accusing Obama, the White House announced it would no longer discuss the issue and would hand the investigation over to Congress. 
  
Nunes said the investigation into the wiretapping would be part of the election tampering investigation his committee will begin next week with a hearing of intelligence officials, including Comey and Clapper. 
Tags Adam Schiff Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Jason Chaffetz Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Tom Cotton Trey Gowdy
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