President Donald Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his phones ran into headwinds on several fronts Wednesday, as three top Republicans said they'd seen no evidence of the assertion.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said he does not believe Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped him, but said it's possible Trump communications may have been gathered in "incidental" intelligence collection.
"I don't believe Trump Tower was tapped," Nunes told reporters Wednesday.
"We don't have any evidence that that took place and, in fact, I don't believe -- just in the last week of time, the people we've talked to -- I don't think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower," Nunes said at a news conference in reference to the baseless claim originally made by Trump several weeks ago.
Nunes and Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said they want to see any evidence of wiretapping by their March 20 hearing or they may issue a subpoena for the records.Asked if he had seen any evidence that Trump aides spoke with Russian officials other than Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, Nunes said, "Not that I'm aware of."
But Schiff then said, "I wouldn't answer that question as categorically as my colleague. We're not privileged to talk about the contents of the investigation but, you know, I think we need to be very precise when we talk about this. And I just don't think that we can answer it categorically in this forum."
FBI Director James Comey will testify at their March 20 hearing and there will be a second hearing in the committee March 28.
Nunes and Schiff also sent a letter to the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency demanding information on the leaks regarding Russia's contact with Trump advisers by Friday.
The two leaders of the House investigation said their work has been stalled so far by trouble accessing computers used by the director of national intelligence -- Schiff said he has been taking handwritten notes when he views evidence.
The two have not yet interviewed former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn and declined to say whether he would appear in a public hearing. Schiff added that he is very concerned about Trump adviser Roger Stone's admission that he communicated with "Guccifer 2.0," -- who was later determined by intelligence to be a Russian hacker or group of hackers.
Stone has described his contact with Guccifer as limited to a "brief exchange with him on Twitter" and any suggestion otherwise, he told CNN, is "a fabrication."(Source: CNN)