White House Defends Wiretapping Claim Despite FBI Director Knockdown

White House press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily White House briefing, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that President Donald Trump stood by his unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

During his daily press briefing, which began during a break in FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Spicer was asked about Comey saying that neither the FBI, nor any component of the Justice Department, had seen information to support Trump’s claim.

“He said that there is no information to support the allegations that the President made against President Obama,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl told Spicer, referring to Comey, before the press secretary cut him off.

“At this time,” Spicer said.

“So is the President prepared to withdraw that accusation and apologize to the President?” Karl asked.

“No,” Spicer responded. “We started a hearing. It’s still ongoing. And then, as Chairman Nunes mentioned, this is one of a series of hearings that will be happening.”

Spicer made no effort to justify Trump’s claim, as he did on Thursday by citing media reports related to wiretapping generally.

“I think there’s — as I noted last week, there is also a lot of interesting news coming out of that in terms of the activities that have gone on to reveal the information on American citizens that have been part of this, particularly General Flynn,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things that aren’t being covered in this hearing that I think are interesting that, since it’s ongoing, I will leave that for now, but I think there’s a lot of areas that still need to be covered. There’s a lot of information that still needs to be discussed.

At the outset of the briefing, responding to a reporter, Spicer said “there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t at the time” have confidence in FBI Director James Comey, referring to Trump.

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