US House committee wants evidence for Trump’s wiretap claim

FBI Director James Comey speaks at a cybersecurity conference at Boston College on March 8, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Comey has been asked by the US House Committee on Intelligence to address recent claims by President Donald Trump that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of then-candidate Trump. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 12 March 2017
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US House committee wants evidence for Trump’s wiretap claim

WASHINGTON: The House intelligence committee is asking the Trump administration for evidence that the phones at Trump Tower were tapped during the campaign as its namesake has charged.
President Donald Trump asserted in a tweet last week: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He continued the allegation against former President Barack Obama in other tweets but offered no evidence.
On Saturday a senior congressional aide said the request for evidence by Monday was made in a letter sent by the committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican, and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, according to the aide, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the request by name and requested anonymity.
Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has said that nothing matching Trump’s claims had taken place, but that has not quelled speculation that Trump’s communications were monitored by the Obama administration. Trump has asked Congress to investigate.
Early this week, Schiff said the committee would answer the president’s call to investigate the claim. He also said that he would ask FBI Director James Comey directly when he appears later this month before the full committee, which is investigating Russian activities during the election.
“We should be able to determine in fairly short order whether this allegation is true or false,” Schiff told reporters Tuesday evening at the Capitol.
Nunes has said that so far he has not seen any evidence to back up Trump’s claim and has suggested the news media were taking the president’s weekend tweets too literally.
“The president is a neophyte to politics — he’s been doing this a little over a year,” Nunes told reporters earlier this week.
Other lawmakers have asked for similar evidence.
Declaring that Congress “must get to the bottom” of Trump’s claim, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse asked Comey and Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente to produce the paper trail created when the Justice Department’s criminal division secures warrants for wiretaps.


Russia says US is playing with fire by imposing new sanctions on it

Updated 17 min 14 sec ago
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Russia says US is playing with fire by imposing new sanctions on it

  • The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying fighter jets and missile systems from Russia
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement it seemed to Moscow that imposing sanctions on Russia had become a national US pastime

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday called a new wave of US sanctions misguided, saying Washington’s habit of using sanctions against Moscow risked undermining global stability and was part of a dangerous game.
The Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military on Thursday for buying fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, in breach of a sweeping US sanctions law punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US election, something Russia denies.
The administration also blacklisted an additional 33 people and entities associated with the Russian military and intelligence.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement it seemed to Moscow that imposing sanctions on Russia had become a national US pastime, noting that the latest wave of restrictions was the 60th sanctions package since 2011.
“Each new round of sanctions proves our foe’s complete lack of success in pressuring Russia with previous such attempts,” said Ryabkov, who added that Washington would never succeed in dictating its conditions to Moscow.
“It would be not bad if they remembered about the concept of global stability which they are unthinkingly undermining by whipping up tensions in Russia-US relations. Playing with fire is stupid and can become dangerous.”