White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump has not asked FBI Director James Comey for evidence to prove the unsubstantiated claim that President Barack Obama was “wiretapping” Trump’s phones at Trump Tower ahead of the 2016 election.
“It’s been a full three days since the President said that President Obama had his wires tapped, his phones tapped, at Trump Tower,” ABC’s Jon Karl said during Spicer’s daily briefing. “In those three days has the White House come up with any evidence whatsoever to prove that allegation?”
“I addressed this multiple times yesterday,” Spicer said. “We put out a statement on Sunday saying we would have no further comment and we were asking the house and the senate intelligence committees to look into this concern and report back.”
“Can’t the President just ask the FBI director?” Karl pressed. “Has he asked him?”
“No, the President has not,” Spicer said.
Spicer said that congressional committees are “the appropriate place” for an investigation into Trump’s allegations.
“I think there’s clearly a role that Congress can play with its oversight capabilities,” Spicer said. “They have made it very clear they have the staff, the resources and the process.”
He said that if the White House became involved in proving Trump’s claims then the media would “write stories” about it.
“I think if we were to start to get involved you would then write stories about how we were getting involved, so it’s a no-win situation,” Spicer said.
“Do you believe that President Obama ordered—” Karl began.
“I’m not here to speak for myself,” Spicer said.
The press secretary called it “a cute question to ask.”
“My job is to represent the President and to talk about what he’s doing and what he wants,” Spicer said. “I’ll leave it at that. I think we’ve tried to play this game before.”
In response to a later question, Spicer said that he has not personally seen any evidence to support Trump’s claims.
“No, I’m not in a position that that would be regularly part of my daily duties for the President to sit down and go through that,” he said. “That’s at probably a level above my pay grade.”
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement. “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
Spicer nevertheless called on Sunday for Congress to investigate Trump’s claims, and House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that his committee will “make inquiries” into the allegations.
“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” Spicer said in a statement released Sunday prior to his further comments on the matter.