By Dustin Volz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Justice Department said it had no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s baseless claim in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had ordered a Trump Tower wiretap during the campaign. presidential 2016.
There has never been any evidence to support Trump’s claim on Twitter that “Obama had ‘my cables intercepted’ at Trump Tower just prior to victory,” despite continued insistence by some conservative websites and commentators.
But in a court filing late Friday, the Justice Department added itself to the list of entities discrediting the indictment.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s Division of Homeland Security “confirm they have no records related to the wiretapping as described” in Trump’s tweets posted on March 4, the department said in a court file in Washington.
The filing was in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by American Oversight, a government watchdog group.
Trump Tower, a mixed-use New York skyscraper, is home to one of Trump’s private residences and served as his campaign headquarters during the election.
The surveillance claim, which first appeared in conservative media before being picked up by Trump, sparked a rare reprimand from Obama, who responded at the time through a spokesperson to denounce the idea that he had ordered surveillance against the then candidate Trump as “just untrue..”
In a statement, American Oversight said the Justice Department filing “confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama ‘heard him’ at Trump Tower.”
When asked for comment, a White House spokeswoman said Saturday: “This is not news. We answered this weeks ago.”
Despite the lack of evidence, the White House for several weeks tried to reinforce the unfounded claim, and helped push for an also baseless investigation of Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives intelligence committee, on whether the Obama administration incorrectly exposed “surveillance wiretaps of phone conversations that Trump associates had with foreigners.”
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