- FBI Director James Comey has reportedly challenged US President Donald Trump’s wiretapping claims against his predecessor Barack Obama, advising the Justice Department to publicly refute the charges.
Comey asked the Trump administration on Saturday to withdraw the claim that Obama had ordered an illegal surveillance of Trump Tower before the presidential election, arguing that such allegations implicate the FBI as well, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Unnamed administration officials confirmed to the media that the exchange had indeed taken place.
The Justice Department had yet to respond to Comey's request to reject Trump's accusation.
Trump claimed Saturday that Obama abused his power and spied on his campaign over allegations that his team was connected to Moscow.
Aside from the issue of hurting the FBI's own credibility, the bureau believes that if Obama had indeed obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to eavesdrop on Trump, it could be indicative of ample evidence tying the former reality TV star to Russia.
Trump’s allegations were largely viewed as an effort by the new Republican president to contain the fallout from his cabinet members’ conversations with Russian officials.