In a series of tweets on Saturday, US President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of “wiretapping” his New York City offices before the election in November 2016.
Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis has rejected the allegations and said the Obama administration “never ordered surveillance on any US citizen”.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump followed this tweet with several others, calling Obama’s alleged action a “new low.”
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump also compared Obama’s alleged actions to Watergate, the massive 1970s scandal where Republican President Richard Nixon had ordered a break-in of the Democrats’ Washington headquarters.
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump’s tweetstorm could be a response to claims by radio host Mark Levin on his Thursday night show, where he talked about the steps Obama had taken to undermine the Trump campaign and presidency.
Levin accused Obama of attempting a “silent coup” against Trump, also calling for a congressional investigation into his claims.
Obama Administration’s ‘Cardinal Rule’
Lewis said it had been a “cardinal rule” of the Obama administration that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false,” Lewis said in a statement.
The statement did not address the possibility that a wiretap of the Trump campaign could have been ordered by Justice Department officials.
(With inputs from Reuters)