Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Sunday denied President Donald Trump’s unsupported claim that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower before his inauguration.
Clapper told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “I can deny” the existence of a court order allowing the FBI to tap Trump Tower under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The national intelligence director from 2010 until Obama left office in January also said none of the agencies under his purview were involved in the type of wiretapping Trump alleged, without evidence.
“I would certainly hope” to be aware of any tapping of Trump during the 2016 campaign, Clapper said.
Clapper added that his remarks on the absence of any wiretapping activity would not cover potential state or local operations, nor “other authorized entities in the government.”
His comments come as Trump’s Twitter accusation of wiretapping —followed by a Sunday call from the White House for congressional intelligence committees to investigate the matter — leaves lawmakers nonplussed.
Clapper singled out the Senate intelligence committee’s efforts to investigate Russian meddling in the presidential election as “a truly bipartisan effort” further along in the process than its House counterpart, though he left the door open to support an independent probe if the Senate’s work were stymied.
Clapper also told NBC that he expects to be called to testify on Capitol Hill over the course of the investigation.