WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump will not be apologizing to Barack Obama or backing away from his claim that the former president wiretapped Trump Tower, even though basically everyone who would be in a position to know what happened has publicly rebuked his theory.
“This is still ongoing,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday.
It is not ongoing anywhere but at the White House. On Monday, FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that he has seen nothing to back up Trump.
“I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” he said.
In addition to Comey, Obama, the heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the former director of national intelligence have all said the former president did not spy on Trump during the campaign.
But those repudiations are not enough for the president and his staff, who believe there may be more down the rabbit hole.
“I get you guys want to know the end of the book right now. But we are on the first chapter of this process,” Spicer said.
The White House has tried to shift attention away from Trump’s March 4 tweetstorm ― and the investigation into ties between Russian officials and his campaign aides ― by drawing attention to leaks coming from within the intelligence agencies. Those leaks, the administration says, are the real problem. Spicer pointed to media reports that revealed Michael Flynn, Trump’s one-time national security adviser, talked with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.
“What I am getting at is there’s a lot of information that we have come to learn in terms of what happened in terms of surveillance throughout the 2016 election and the transition,” Spicer said. “And when you look at somebody like Michael Flynn, and you realize that while they might have been looking at somebody else at that time, how does somebody’s name that’s protected by law from being disclosed get put out in the public? ... What were the motives behind that? What else do we need to know? Who was behind that kind of unmasking?”
Those questions don’t have anything to do with whether Trump was correct in tweeting that Obama ordered Trump to be wiretapped during the campaign.
On Monday, Spicer also urged people to stop trying to find evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, saying that you shouldn’t search for something that doesn’t exist.
“There’s a point at which you continue to search for something that everybody who has been briefed hasn’t seen or found. ... So you can continue to look for something, but continuing to look for something that doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter,” Spicer said, without any hint of irony.
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