March 14 (UPI) -- The Justice Department requested more time to comply with a House panel seeking information on President Donald Trump's allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones.
The House Intelligence Committee, investigating possible connections between the Russian government and members of the Trump administration, set a Monday deadline for documentation that Obama arranged for a wiretap of Trump Tower prior to the November election. No information was transmitted by Monday evening, but the Justice Department confirmed that it sought more time to "review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities."
On March 4, Trump tweeted that Obama had his "'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before victory" in the election. Officials in the Obama administration, including James Clapper, national security director, said no surveillance of Trump Tower was ever ordered. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for March 20; if the information is not received by then, the committee could use the subpoena process to obtain it, Jack Langer, spokesman for Republicans on the committee said Monday.
"If the committee does not receive a response by then, the committee will ask for this information during the March 20 hearing and may resort to a compulsory process if our questions continue to go unanswered," Langer said in a statement.
White House officials attempted to soften Trump's allegations Monday. Counselor Kellyanne Conway said in a television interview that she had "no evidence" to prove Trump's accusation. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump "used the word 'wiretap' in quotes, to mean broadly, surveillance, and other activities. He doesn't really think that President [Obama] went up and tapped his phones personally."