World

Senior aide says no evidence to support Trump's claim of Obama wiretap

WASHINGTON: Top White House aide Kellyanne Conway said on Monday she had no evidence to back up Mr Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor had wiretapped him, after suggesting her boss may have been spied upon using other methods.

The Trump administration is under mounting pressure to provide proof to shore up Mr Trump's unsubstantiated allegation that Mr Barack Obama ordered the phones to be tapped at Trump Tower during the election campaign.

"The answer is I don't have any evidence, and I'm very happy that the House Intelligence Committee is investigating," Mrs Conway told ABC.

She was being pressed to explain weekend comments that seemed to suggest the Obama administration ordered wide-scale surveillance of her boss.

"What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other," Mrs Conway told New Jersey's Bergen County Record in an interview published on Sunday.

"You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their TVs - any number of ways," including "microwaves that turn into cameras", Mrs Conway told the paper. "We know this is a fact of modern life."

She backed away on Monday from the comments that were greeted with online ridicule.

Both Mr Obama, through a spokesman, and his director of national intelligence James Clapper, have denied ordering any wiretapping operation targeted at Mr Trump. But the White House is standing by its demand for a congressional investigation into the allegation.

Senior aide says no evidence to support Trump's claim of Obama wiretap
Netizens ridiculed Mrs Kellyanne Conway's suggestion that the Obama administration may have used microwaves to spy on Mr Donald Trump. PHOTOS: TWITTER

The House Intelligence Committee's Republican chairman Devin Nunes and top ranking Democrat Adam Schiff have written to the Justice Department asking for evidence to be provided in support of the allegation.

The Justice Department asked for "additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what, if any, responsive documents may exist", spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

Mr Schiff said he doubted any evidence would be forthcoming and would press the demand again during an open hearing set for March 20 on the issue of Russian meddling in the election.

After the Justice Department asked for more time, Mr Schiff tweeted: "We are urging that they do so promptly, but no later than our hearing on March 20." - AFP