Justice Department Wiretapping Report Submitted to Congress Does Not Confirm Trump’s Claim, Sources Say
Two government officials told CNN Friday evening that the classified report delivered from the Justice Department to House and Senate investigators does not confirm President Donald Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the campaign.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke with knowledge of the classified report’s contents.
When asked if the DOJ’s documents would confirm Trump’s as of yet wholly unsubstantiated allegations, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told CNN, “I don’t think so” as he walked into a room to read the report.
Ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said he was “absolutely confident” the DOJ report would not back up Trump’s allegation.
“There’s really no question about this. The president’s statements before, and his tweets since leading right up today, have no basis in fact,” Schiff told CNN.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the contents of the report, but earlier in the day a spokeswoman confirmed it had delivered the document.
“The Department of Justice has complied with the request from leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Judiciary Committees seeking information related to surveillance during the 2016 election,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Friday.
The House Committee is set to hold a hearing Monday with National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and FBI Director James Comey. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday it would hold a hearing on Russia’s meddling into the U.S. election on March 30.
Nunes released a statement Friday evening confirming receipt of the report from DOJ and part of its request from the NSA, which he said had committed to meet the full request by the end of next week
However, he added, “the committee still has not received information requested from the CIA and FBI in our March 15 letter that is necessary to determine whether information collected on U.S. persons was mishandled and leaked.”
Prior to receiving the classified documents from the DOJ, both Nunes and Schiff had already stated flatly that Trump Tower was clearly not wiretapped. But Nunes has left the door open to the potential that communications between Trump’s aides and others were swept up in “incidental” collection.
“We need to figure out what happened here, there’s a lot of unanswered question. I just don’t want anybody jumping to any conclusion on any side of this, other than the fact that we know that Obama didn’t physically wiretap Trump Tower,” Nunes told CNN Friday. “But everything else is still … there’s a lot of unknowns.”
The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee have also stated that no surveillance of Trump Tower occurred during or after the 2016 election.
Republican Rep. Will Hurd, in an interview Friday evening on CNN’s Erin Burnett “OutFront,” said that while he had not yet had a chance to read the DOJ report, he believes “it’s been pretty clear that there’s no evidence to suggest” Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped.
Trump has stood by his claim, repeating the allegation again Friday while standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“At least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump said Friday, motioning to Merkel, a reference to how the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped the German Chancellor’s phone in the past.