Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway challenged FBI Director James Comey Sunday to reveal any information he might have about President Trump’s allegations that former President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“If Mr. Comey has something he’d like to say I’m sure we’re all willing to hear it,” Conway told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro in an interview on “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” “All I saw was a published news report. I didn’t see a statement from him. I don’t know what Mr. Comey knows.
“If he knows, of course he can issue a statement,” Conway said. “We know he’s not shy.”
Conway said Trump may know whether he was wiretapped because he receives different intelligence reports than other White House officials. However, she did not provide specific details.
Conway’s challenge of Comey came after the New York Times reported that the FBI director asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s assertion that he had been wiretapped. According to the paper, Comey argued that Trump’s claim falsely implied that the FBI had broken the law.
Earlier Sunday, Obama's director of national intelligence, James Clapper, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that nothing matching Trump's claims had taken place.
"Absolutely, I can deny it," said Clapper, who also said that he had “no knowledge” of a request for a FISA, or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act, order for a wiretap, which requires at least some evidence of illegal activity.
Josh Earnest, who was Obama’s press secretary, took it a step further, saying that Trump’s accusations were an attempt to deflect the attention given to contacts between then-Sen. Jeff Sessions and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign season. The FBI is investigating those contacts, as is Congress.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said without elaborating Sunday that Trump's instruction to Congress was based on "very troubling" reports "concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election." Spicer did not respond to inquiries about the reports he cited in announcing the request.
Spicer said the White House wants the congressional committees to "exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016." He said there would be no further comment until the investigations are completed, a statement that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took offense to and likened to autocratic behavior.
"It's called a wrap-up smear. You make up something. Then you have the press write about it. And then you say, everybody is writing about this charge. It's a tool of an authoritarian," Pelosi said.
Spicer's chief deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said she thinks Trump is "going off of information that he's seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential."
Sources told Fox News that Trump’s allegations caught senior federal law enforcement officials by surprise.
Those sources said that the officials in question had no idea what Trump was talking about when the president made the allegation on social media Saturday morning. The sources also told Fox that Trump did not consult with senior officials who would have been advised of any such wiretapping operations before posting the messages.