The White House on Sunday called for congressional investigations into its claims the Obama administration meddled in the 2016 election cycle in an attempt to gather information on then-Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in the statement.
“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
The statement follows an explosive allegation Saturday by Trump that former President Barack Obama ordered phones wiretapped at Trump Tower and also states that nobody in the administration “will comment further until such oversight is conducted.”
Trump’s wiretap allegations, in a series of tweets Saturday, and the ensuing White House statement are the latest developments in the ongoing story about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential race — particularly Russian President Vladimir Putin trying to influence the election for Trump over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn submitted his resignation over the matter, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any Justice Department probe, following revelations he spoke during the campaign to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism,” Trump wrote in one tweet Saturday.
“Is it legal for a sitting president to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he said in another tweet.
Trump also tweeted that a “good lawyer could make a great case of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to election!”
“How low has President Obama gone to tap (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” the president continued.