McCain: Trump Should Prove Wiretapping Claim or Retract It

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator John McCain said on Sunday that he expects President Trump to either provide evidence for his claim that President Obama ordered a wiretap on him, or retract the accusation. Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, the Arizona Republican was asked by host Jake Tapper about Trump’s assertion, last weekend, that Obama had ordered an illegal wiretap on him and Trump Tower during the run-up to last year’s presidential election. McCain said he has “no reason to believe that the charge is true.” To leave such an allegation out there, McCain insisted, “undermines the confidence the American people have in the entire way that the government does business.”

“All he has to do is pick up the phone, call the director of the CIA, director of national intelligence and say, ‘Okay, what happened?’” McCain told Tapper.

But Trump, rather than consulting or empowering the federal agencies under his control, has instead only called on Congress to investigate Obama over his claim. In addition, most reporting since Trump’s tweetstormed accusation a week ago has indicated that the sole source of the president’s information was likely a Breitbart article about an unsubstantiated right-wing conspiracy theory, meaning it’s unlikely that Trump will be willing or able to provide the evidence McCain is calling for. President Obama’s spokesperson, as well as several Obama administration officials, have all rejected Trump’s claim.

The House Intelligence Committee has reportedly asked the Trump administration to provide evidence for the president’s allegations by Monday, and last week the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee formally requested any Justice Department or FBI documents related to the alleged wiretaps as well.

Trump himself ignored repeated requests from a reporter on Friday to back up his wiretap accusation. In addition, no one in his administration has been willing to support or even personally agree with Trump’s allegations either. And in the unlikely event that there is evidence of a judge-approved FISA warrant to tap Trump and/or Trump Tower, that would draw even more attention and lend credence to the concerns that Trump officials had ties to Russia during the campaign.

McCain weighed in on that subject during Sunday’s State of the Union interview too:

[T]here’s a lot of things about our relations with Russia that trouble me a lot. For example, why was the provision in the [official GOP platform at the Republican National Convention] that called for the provision of defensive weapons to Ukraine, after being invaded by Russia, why was that taken out of the Republican platform? Clearly, it was not the will of most Republicans. There’s a lot of aspects of this whole relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin that requires further scrutiny. 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.

Responding to the story that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone had admitted messaging with the the “Guccifer 2.0” hacker or hackers who claimed responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee last year, Trump McCain said that he believes Stone and others in the Trump campaign “need to be questioned”:

This whole issue of the relationship with the Russians and who communicated with them and under what circumstances clearly beg – cries out for investigation. But I would also point out we should not assume guilt until we have a thorough investigation. I’m not judging anyone guilty.
McCain: Trump Should Prove Wiretapping Claim or Retract It