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Sean Spicer says Trump 'doesn't really think' Obama 'personally' wiretapped Trump

March 14,2017 00:21

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that President Donald Trump "doesn't really think" former President Barack Obama "personally" wiretapped Trump Tower, altering Trump's unsubstantiated claim that Obama directed an illegal wire ...and more »



Sean
Spicer
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White House press secretary Sean Spicer
said on Monday that President Donald Trump "doesn't
really think" former President Barack Obama "personally"
wiretapped Trump Tower, altering Trump's
unsubstantiated claim that Obama directed an illegal wire tap
during the presidential election.

Trump made these explosive accusations without offering any
evidence in a series of tweets on March 4, in which he
called Obama a "bad (or sick) guy" and compared him to former
President Richard Nixon.

“He doesn't really think that President Obama went up and
tapped his phone personally,” Spicer told reporters in response
to a question concerning the claims from NBC's Peter
Alexander.

Spicer claimed that Trump had accused Obama of general
surveillance, rather than a literal wire tap of Trump's phones,
arguing that Trump put quotation marks around "wire
tapping" in two of his four tweets, thus indicating the
term should not be taken literally. But Trump
explicitly accused Obama of "tapping my phones in
October, just prior to Election".

“I think there is no question that the Obama
administration, that there were actions about surveillance and
other activities that occurred in the 2016 election. That is a
widely-reported activity that occurred back then,” Spicer said.
“The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly
surveillance and other activities during that.”

Spicer accused the media of ignoring proof of surveillance
allegations that he said had been reported during the
election. 

“It is interesting how many news outlets reported that this
activity was taking place during the 2016 election cycle, and now
we're wondering where the proof is," Spicer said. "It is many of
the same outlets in this room that talked about the activities
that were going on back then.”

While intelligence agencies have
reportedly intercepted communications between the Trump
campaign and Russian officials through an investigation into
Russian attempts to interfere in the US election, no credible
mainstream news outlets have reported that Obama or his
administration conducted surveillance on Trump or
the campaign. 

Spicer and Trump may have been referring to a

Breitbart report concerning conservative radio host Mark
Levin's allegations that Obama sought to "undermine" Trump's
campaign in the final days of the presidential election. 

Obama and his former director of national
intelligence, James Clapper, denied that the allegations were
true. 

"This may come as a surprise to the current occupant of the
Oval Office, but the president of the United States does not have
the authority to unilaterally order the wiretapping of an
American citizen," former White House press secretary
Josh Earnest
said on ABC's "This Week."

Jeremy Burke contributed to this report.  

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