Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, both Senators who sit on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Department of Justice and FBI Wednesday demanding the release of wiretap warrant applications (if they exist) for President Donald Trump, Trump Tower and the Trump campaign as a whole.
"Congress must get to the bottom of President Trump's recent allegation that President Obama wiretapped President Trump’s phones during the 2016 election. The White House agrees. On Sunday, President Trump requested, through Press Secretary Sean Spicer, that Congressional committees investigate whether executive branch investigative powers were abused during the Obama administration," Graham and Whitehouse wrote to FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente Wednesday. "The President's request was for the intelligence committees to look into this, but it is the Department of Justice’s criminal division that obtains warrants for wiretaps, and oversight of the criminal division lies with the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism."
"Therefore, we request that the Department of Justice provide us copies of any warrant applications and court orders—redacted as necessary to protect intelligence sources and methods that may be compromised by disclosure, and to protect any ongoing investigations—related to wiretaps of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower. We will be glad to review any such applications and orders once they are disclosed, and proceed as appropriate with the oversight the President has requested," the letter continues. "As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, we would take any abuse of wiretapping authorities for political purposes very seriously. We would be equally alarmed to learn that a court found enough evidence of criminal activity or contact with a foreign power to legally authorize a wiretap of President Trump, the Trump Campaign, or Trump Tower. We look forward to your response."
The request comes after President Trump accused President Obama of wiretapping him during the 2016 presidential campaign, a claim Obama and previous administration officials have denied.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
So far, Comey has refused to comment on the issue directly but did ask the Department of Justice over the weekend to reject Trump's claims.