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Senate Intel panel says no evidence of Trump wiretapping

By Eric DuVall
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday he has seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim his phones were tapped prior to the election. A day earlier, the leader of House Intelligence Committee said his panel had reached the same conclusion. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f7be957a9fecc5973615cebbc28991c9/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday he has seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim his phones were tapped prior to the election. A day earlier, the leader of House Intelligence Committee said his panel had reached the same conclusion. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 16 (UPI) -- The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said they have found no evidence to suggest the Obama administration ordered the phones at Trump Tower tapped, the latest officials to contradict the accusation made by President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they had reached the same conclusion.

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"Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016," Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a statement.

Trump made the accusation on Twitter this month, saying Obama had ordered his phones tapped during the election.

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"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Trump wrote on Twitter on March 4 in the first of a series of three tweets on the subject.

A spokesman for the former president and his director of national intelligence have denied it.

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In an interview with Fox News that aired Wednesday night, Trump widened his definition of "wiretapping" to include more general surveillance. Trump said his administration would present evidence of that surveillance to the committees investigating the role of Russian hacking in the election.

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Several media organizations have reported over the last few months that the FBI asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for warrants in June and October of 2016 in connection with an investigation of two Russian banks and Trump's campaign.

"The first request, which, sources say, named Trump," the online publication Heat Street reported on Nov. 7, 2016, "was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia's Alfa Bank."

On Jan. 19, 2017, the New York Times reported that conversations between associates of Trump had been "intercepted" as part of a "broad investigation" looking at links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

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The headquarters of Trump's presidential campaign was in Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where Trump also lived prior to his inauguration and where the Trump organization is also headquartered.

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Earlier Wednesday, the chairman and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said they, too, had so far failed to find any evidence to back up Trump's claim his phones had been tapped.

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