WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump does not accept the contention of FBI Director James Comey that Trump falsely claimed that President Barack Obama had him wiretapped, a White House spokeswoman said Monday.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Comey had asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject Trump’s assertions. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is untrue and must be corrected, but the department has not released any such statement.
A White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was asked early Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether Trump accepted Comey’s contention. “I don’t think he does,” she said.
“I think he firmly believes that this is a storyline that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets,” said Sanders. She went on to cite several media reports about the FBI’s investigation into links between Trump’s associates and Russia.
George Stephanopoulos, the ABC News host interviewing Sanders, pointed out that the stories Sanders cited did not back up Trump’s claims that Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped the month before the election.
Trump started the controversy on Saturday when he made a series of posts on Twitter that said he had just learned that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower in October.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” Trump said. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
Trump added: “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
The White House has not officially said what led Trump to make the claims.
But administration officials have acknowledged that it was primarily based on unverified claims by Breitbart News and conservative talk radio hosts that secret warrants were issued authorizing the tapping of the phones of Trump and his aides at Trump Tower in New York.
On Sunday, the White House said in a statement that Trump had demanded Congress investigate whether Obama had abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies. The White House said at the time that it would have no further comment on the matter.
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