House Speaker Paul Ryan, appearing on Face the Nation, said he had seen no evidence to back up President Donald Trump’s extraordinary claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.
You can watch the House Speaker’s comment from March 12 above.
“You are a member in the so-called Gang of Eight, the top leaders who get this information. Have you seen anything to suggest there are wiretaps?” Ryan was asked.
“No,” Ryan responded.
“Could you clear up this question of wiretaps?”
“I don’t want to get ahead of the Intelligence Committee. I don’t want to get ahead of the Intelligence committees and their thorough investigation.”
According to CBS News, Ryan also said, “That’s outside of my control, what is tweeted or what isn’t tweeted. We’re focused on health care. The president’s focused on health care. I think he’s frustrated with this whole thing about Russia. I think he’s frustrated with selective leaks coming from parts of government that malign his campaign.”
Previously, though, Ryan made comments in a televised interview that some believed made it sound like he did have knowledge of the Obama administration investigating members of Trump’s campaign over Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. Ryan denied, though, that he had seen any evidence of such interference, saying nothing had come of any investigations.
News reports said previously that FBI Director James Comey asked the U.S. Department of Justice to publicly denounce Trump’s wiretapping claim.
According to The New York Times, citing “senior American officials,” Comey “has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected,” but the DOJ has not released the requested statement.
The White House is now asking Congress to include investigation into Trump’s wiretapping claim as part of inquiries into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump first made the claim against former President Obama on Twitter without providing any proof.
A spokesperson for Obama derided as false any contention that Obama or any White House official had ordered wiretapping of Trump, but some on social media have parsed the statement to say it doesn’t deny that such activity might have occurred at Justice.
The Post found that the reports revolve around a claim that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant for people related to the Trump campaign but are anonymously sourced and mostly deriving from British media sources. Politico and others have cited an article in the right-leaning website Heat Street from November as a possible root of the claim.
Wrote Politico, “There has been a growing body of evidence, however…indicating that there is at least one Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant targeting people affiliated with Trump. That article claimed a FISA warrant had been issued in connection with an ongoing investigation into suspicious activity between a server in Trump Tower and two foreign banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. The warrant allegedly also encompasses at least four U.S. citizens…”