Saturday, June 12, 2021

Trump wants Obama probed over alleged abuse of power

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tiamin rice

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 10, 2016 shows Former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump shake hands during a transition planning meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC.
US President-elect Donald Trump on December 28, 2016
/ AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON

United States President Donald Trump has urged Congress to investigate whether Barack Obama abused executive power in the election campaign, a day after alleging his predecessor had tapped his phones.

His press secretary, Sean Spicer, said the inquiry into alleged Russian interference should also examine these allegations. Trump made the claims in a series of tweets but offered no evidence, BBC said.

James Clapper, the U.S. intelligence chief during the campaign, has flatly denied Trump Tower was wire-tapped. Barack Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, had earlier said that the former president had never “ordered surveillance of any U.S. citizen”.

Trump, who has been facing intense scrutiny over alleged Russian interference in support of his presidential bid, made the wire-tapping allegation in tweets written from his weekend home in Florida early on Saturday.

He called the alleged tapping “Nixon/Watergate”, referring to the notorious political scandal of 1972, which led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

His claims sparked Republican and Democrat politicians alike to demand details to back them up. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio was the latest, saying yesterday that “the White House will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to”.

But in his series of tweets yesterday, Spicer did not provide any further evidence. He said: “Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling.

“President Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”

He added: “Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted.” Trump’s tweets followed allegations made by conservative radio host Mark Levin, including that the Obama administration “sought, and eventually obtained, authorisation to eavesdrop” on the Trump campaign last year.

Other media reports had previously suggested the FBI had sought a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance court (Fisa) in order to monitor members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.

The warrant was first turned down but then reportedly approved in October, though there has been no official confirmation.

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