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The Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the FBI have concluded that there is no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim in March that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretapping on Trump Tower during the election.
“Both FBI and NSD can again confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the DOJ wrote in a Motion for Summary Judgment on Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the government watchdog group American Oversight.
The group had requested in its FOIA filing for “warrant applications or records requesting a court order to intercept communications related to candidate Donald Trump, Trump Tower, entities housed in Trump Tower, or any person affiliated with Mr. Trump’s campaign; court orders approving or rejecting those requests; records of those wiretaps, and; communications between the FBI or DOJ and Congress relating to these issues.”
The request was “broader than the subject” of Trump’s March 4 tweet, wrote G. Bradley Weinsheimer, the Acting Chief of Staff and Director of Risk Management and Strategy for the NSD, and the DOJ could therefore not respond to portions of the request.
But Weinsheimer reiterated that “the Department of Justice including NSD has no records responsive to Plaintiff’s request inasmuch as it seeks records of alleged wiretapping of then-Candidate Trump in Trump Tower by President Obama prior to the election, as referenced in the March 4, 2017, tweet.”
Former FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that he had seen no evidence of such wire-tapping.
- Joshua Roberts/Reuters
American Oversight said in a statement that “the FBI and Department of Justice have now sided with Comey and confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama ‘wiretapped’ him at Trump Tower.”
The White House told Newsweek on Saturday that the DOJ’s filing “isn’t news. We have already addressed it.”
Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in March that Trump had used the words “wire tapping” to refer to surveillance broadly – an argument Trump used in an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson at the time.
“Don’t forget, when I say wiretapping, those words were in quotes,” Trump told Carlson. “That really covers – because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff, but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing. But wiretap covers a lot of different things.
The article based its claims on a theory floated by the conservative radio host Mark Levin that Obama had mounted a “silent coup” against Trump using “police state” tactics that included wiretapping.