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Justice Dept.: No evidence to back up Trump's wiretapping claim

By Eric DuVall
Justice Dept.: No evidence to back up Trump's wiretapping claim
The Justice Department on Friday said in a court filing there was no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim that the Obama administration tapped the phones at Trump Tower. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- In a Friday night court filing, the Justice Department said there was no evidence to support President Donald Trump's claim that former President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped.

The court filing stated there were "no records related to wiretaps as described" by Trump.

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The allegation, which Trump made in March without any supporting evidence, caused a political firestorm that consumed Washington for weeks. Trump insisted the claim was backed up by evidence, but his administration never presented it publicly.

"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" Trump tweeted on March 4.

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"How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process," Trump also tweeted. "This is Nixon/Watergate."

Afterward, Trump ordered the Justice Department to investigate the alleged wiretapping despite denials by leaders of the intelligence community under Obama that no such effort was ever undertaken.

The allegation came after a New York Times article that stated members of Trump's inner circle had some phone calls captured, but only because they were speaking with foreign agents whose calls the U.S. government regularly monitors.

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Typically, when U.S. citizens are monitored as part of a foreign counter-intelligence investigation, their identities are kept secret. The Trump administration said Obama loyalists unmasked those Trump associates in an effort to embarrass or discredit them, which the administration argued was tantamount to active surveillance.

Later, the BBC confirmed reports in right-leaning U.S. media that said the Obama administration had sought a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in June, 2016 to eavesdrop on select individuals close to Trump during the presidential campaign as part of the FBI's ongoing investigation into Russian election tampering. The request was denied by a judge.

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