New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Friday cast doubt on the notion that the Obama administration spied on associates of President Trump, saying there is no evidence to support the claim and that such surveillance would be difficult to authorize.
"There certainly doesn't seem to be any evidence of that at this point," Christie said during an appearance on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
The Trump ally was responding to a question about whether it was plausible that the Obama White House ordered intelligence agencies to collect information on the Trump campaign.
Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said it would be extremely difficult for the Obama administration to get clearance for that kind of surveillance and would require attorneys to go before a judge to obtain warrants.
"I know from having spent seven years as a U.S. attorney that the FISA court and the way that works and foreign intelligence surveillance activities – it is very, very difficult to get that type of activity going," he said. "You have to go and convince an independent judge."
"So I don't see any evidence of that at this point in time. We'll continue to listen, but I can tell you from my experience that kind of stuff is very difficult to get."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that he had seen evidence that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally gathered information on members of Trump's transition team.
The surveillance had nothing to do with Russia and appeared to be legally obtained, the GOP chairman said.
But the announcement set off a firestorm among Democratic lawmakers, who slammed Nunes for going to the White House to brief Trump on the matter before consulting with members of the panel.
Democrats on the committee accused Nunes of politicizing and complicating an ongoing investigation of Russian election meddling and Trump's potential ties to Moscow.
Nunes apologized on Thursday for his decision to brief Trump and go public with the information before talking to the committee, and pledged to work with his panel on the issue.
Trump said that he felt "somewhat" vindicated by Nunes' announcement after he previously claimed that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGlobal Health, Empowerment, and Rights Act will permanently end to harmful global gag rule Incoming Georgetown Law administrator apologizes after backlash over Supreme Court tweets Ex-Education Secretary Duncan considers Chicago mayor bid MORE wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign.
Nunes and others have said there is no evidence backing up the wiretapping claim.