The Department of Justice has acknowledged in a court filing no evidence of any wiretaps on Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, directly contradicting a claim President Trump made in March. The Justice Department filed a motion Friday evening acknowledging that it didn’t have any evidence to back up the president’s assertion.
The motion was filed in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the transparency group American Oversight. It found that neither the National Security Division or the FBI had any records of wiretapping that President Trump alleged.
“The FBI and Department of Justice have now sided with former [FBI Director James] Comey and confirmed in writing that President Trump lied when he tweeted that former President Obama ‘wiretapped’ him at Trump Tower,” the group said.
President Trump tweeted on March 4 that he “just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017 Former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired in May, testified before Congress that the FBI did not wiretap Trump Tower during the campaign. A spokesperson for Obama denied that the former president unlawfully wire tapped Trump Tower.
“Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen,” spokesman Kevin Lewis said in response to the initial tweets.
The White House has responded that Trump was referring to surveillance in general and the White House has pointed to reports that indicate there were surveillance efforts against Trump before he took office. DOJ noted in the motion that FBI and the DOJ can’t “confirm or deny the existence of any other responsive records” beyond the wiretaps.
The DOJ also noted it neither confirms nor denies the existence of other records related to the “wiretap” portion of the lawsuit because “merely acknowledging whether or not responsive records exist would itself cause harms protected against by FOIA exemptions.”