President Donald Trump has accused the former President Barack Obama of wire-tapping his phone a month before he was elected as the President of the United States.
President Trump took to Twitter early on Saturday and accused his predecessor in a series of tweets:
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
He also said that a court had earlier denied a wiretap request, although he didn’t provide any details to back up his claims nor suggested which order was he referring to.
The tweets from Mr. Trump came after conservative radio host Mark Levin made similar accusations, which were later reported by Breitbart News, the website founded by Steve Bannon, now the chief strategist of Mr. Trump.
Mr. Levin said a congressional investigation should be conducted into what he described as “police state” by Barack Obama in his last month as President to undermine the campaign of Mr. Trump. Breitbart summarized Mr. Levin’s accusations. Here’s a part:
“The Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA (National Security Agency) rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government.”
According to media reports last week, FBI sought a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance court (Fisa) last summer to monitor some members of the Trump campaign who were suspected of irregular contacts with Russia.
Mr. Obama has not come out to comment on the issue, but Ben Rhodes, Obama’s foreign adviser, and speechwriter countered the allegations on Twitter:
“No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”
President Trump also tweeted that a good lawyer would make a great case out of the fact that his phones were tapped a month before the election.
He called the tapping “a new low” and labeled it as “Nixon/Watergate” – referring to the most notorious political scandal in the U.S. in 1972 that resulted in the fall of President Richard Nixon after a web of sabotage, political spying, and bribery were exposed by the media.
He also called it McCarthyism, referring to persecution led by Senator Joseph McCarthy of U.S communists and their allies in the U.S. in the 1950s.
The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament), Alexey Pushkov accused Mr. Obama of being a “wiretapping maniac” who listened to “Merkel, Hollande, and half of Europe.”
In a town hall meeting at Clemson University, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that he was “very worried that the current president suggested that the former President has done something illegally.”
He said that if the allegations were correct, or even if Mr. Obama had legally acquired the warrant to monitor Mr. Trump’s campaign, “It would be the biggest political scandal since Watergate.”