Trump, Obama go head-to-head over claims of “wire tapping” at Trump Tower

(File: CBS New York)

WASHINGTON D.C. (CBS) — In a series of tweets Saturday morning, President Trump accused his predecessor of a “Nixon/Watergate” spying scandal aimed at the Republican candidate during the race for the White House.

It began about 7:00 a.m. eastern time, as the president spent the weekend at his southern home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump continued the accusations with three more tweets.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election,” Trump asked. “Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”

Although he cites no evidence nor links to the explosive claim.

So what’s he talking about?

A recent Breitbart article alleges President Obama’s administration attempted to “undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.”

The article reports twice in 2016, the Obama administration submitted a FISA request to monitor Trump’s communications and those of his advisers.

FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, outlines the procedures on collecting foreign intelligence information from foreign powers and “agents” of foreign powers. It’s been amended several times since the September 11th attacks, including 2008, when Obama updated it, granting immunity to telecommunications companies that conduct surveillance on customers without a warrant.

Breitbart claims the first FISA request, in June, was denied. Then, in October, the Obama administration “submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks.”

Numerous reports within the last year have alleged Russian contact within Trump’s team.

A spokesman for the former president says the accusation that Obama or any White House official ordered surveillance on a U.S. citizen is “simply false.”

Citing law enforcement sources, CBS News’ Jeff Pegues reports senior FBI officials called Justice Department officials Saturday and asked that they publicly reject Mr. Trump’s assertion that then-President Obama ordered the wiretapping of then-candidate Trump’s phones. The message to the Justice Department came from FBI Director James Comey, who disputed the claim because it falsely suggests that the FBI broke the law.

The FBI declined to comment, and so far, the Justice Department has also provided no comment.

Neither the White House nor any other government agency has yet provided proof of Trump’s claims.

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