- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump was “extremely confident” the Department of Justice would find evidence that the Obama administration wiretapped him before the election.
Spicer made the comment during Tuesday’s press briefing when he was asked whether Trump was confident that any evidence would surface to support Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of surveillance.
“I’ll let them do their job, I’ll let the House and Senate and I’ll let the DOJ report this, but as I’ve commented in the past, I think there’s significant reporting about surveillance techniques that have existed throughout the 2016 election,” Spicer said.
“I’ll leave it to them to issue their report, but I think he feels very confident that what will ultimately come of this will vindicate him,” he added.
In a series of tweets earlier this month, Trump accused President Barack Obama of tapping phones at Trump Tower.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process,” Trump tweeted. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
But Spicer said on Monday that Trump “doesn’t really think” Obama “personally” wiretapped Trump Tower.
Spicer claimed that Trump had accused Obama of generally surveilling him, rather than of specifically wiretapping Trump’s phones. Spicer argued that since Trump had put quotation marks around “wire tapping” in two of his four tweets, he was indicating the term should not be taken literally.
“I think there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election,” Spicer said. “That is a widely reported activity that occurred back then.”
While intelligence agencies 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 had conducted surveillance on Trump or the campaign.
Spicer and Trump may have been referring to a Breitbart report concerning the conservative radio host Mark Levin’s allegations that Obama had sought to “undermine” Trump’s campaign in the final days of the presidential election.
On Monday, the Justice Department said it had asked for more time to respond to a request from members of the House Intelligence Committee to provide any evidence of the Obama administration’s wiretapping of Trump.
Eliza Relman contributed to this report.