Sen. John McCain says President Trump has two choices when it comes to his assertion that President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower before the election: provide evidence or retract the allegation immediately.
“President Trump has to provide the American people — not just the intelligence community, but the American people — with evidence that his predecessor, former president of the Unites States, was guilty of breaking the law,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
The Arizona Republican, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Obama, said he has “no reason to believe that the charge is true.”
Trump leveled the explosive claim in a series of tweets last weekend.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump declared.
“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he added.
Trump provided no evidence to back up the claims, and a spokesman for Obama branded the accusation “simply false.” The White House then called on Congress to investigate to “determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016.”
According to the New York Times, FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department “to publicly reject” Trump’s assertion that Obama ordered the tapping of Trump’s phones.
The House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, has asked the White House to provide any evidence it has of Trump’s allegations by Monday.
McCain said Trump could put the issue to rest by calling the director of the CIA and the director of National Intelligence for proof.
“The president of the Unites States could clear this up in a minute,” McCain said. “All he has to do is pick up the phone, call the director of the CIA, director of National Intelligence and say, ‘OK, what happened?’ Because they certainly should know whether the former president of the United States was wiretapping Trump Tower.”
Indeed, if Trump had obtained wiretapping information from his own intelligence sources, he would have the authority to declassify the material and substantiate his claims.
“It looks as if the president just for a moment forgot that he was president,” former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden said last week on Fox News. “Why didn’t he simply use the powers of the presidency to ask the acting director of national intelligence, the head of the FBI, to confirm or deny the story he apparently read from Breitbart the evening before?”
McCain also weighed in on the recent report that Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s ousted national security adviser, was working as a foreign agent last year while he was advising Trump’s campaign.
“There’s a lot of aspects of this whole relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin that requires further scrutiny,” McCain said. “And, so far, I don’t think the American people have gotten all the answers. In fact, I think there’s a lot more shoes to drop from this centipede.”
Hayden told Yahoo News that he isn’t ready to say there’s a direct link between Russia and President Trump or his campaign — but, he said, “there’s a lot of smoke.”
“This does deserve an investigation, because there are just so many coincidences,” Hayden said.
Hayden, a vocal critic of Trump during the campaign, said there seems to be a lot of what he would call “connective tissue between at least elements of the Trump campaign and people inside the Russian Federation — an unusual number.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
- Without evidence, Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower
- Trump calls on Congress to probe his evidence-free wiretap claim
- Obama said to be ‘livid’ over Trump wiretapping claim
- Ex-CIA director on wiretap claim: Trump apparently ‘forgot that he was president’
- Hayden on Trump’s possible ties to Russia: ‘There’s a lot of smoke’