President Trump is continuing to stand by his unsubstantiated claims President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 election, even as top legislators continue to reject the allegation. On Thursday, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Richard Burr and Vice Chair Mark Warner issued a statement saying, “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.” The statement came only hours after Trump told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson he’d be providing evidence soon and that his allegation was based, in part, on a report he’d seen on Fox News.
President Donald Trump: “I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous, where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, ‘Wait a minute. There’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about.’”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also tried to defend Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation during a contentious 20-minute exchange with reporters during Thursday’s press briefing.
Reporter: “Are you saying that the president still stands by his allegation that President Obama ordered wiretapping or surveillance of Trump Tower, despite the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee says they see no indication that it happened?”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “That’s—but—but you’re—”
Reporter: “Does the president still stand by the allegation?”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “No, first of all, he stands by it. But again, you’re mischaracterizing what happened today. The Senate—”
Reporter: “No, they said they saw no indication.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “No, no, I know.”
Reporter: “I’m reading exactly from their statement.”
Press Secretary Sean Spicer: “No, no, the—I understand that. And at the same time, they acknowledge that they have not been in contact with the Department of Justice. So, but at the—again, I go back to what I said at the beginning. It’s interesting—hold on.”