FBI director asks Justice Department to reject Trump wiretap claim: US media

President Barack Obama greets President elect Donald Trump at inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
PHOTO: Reuters

Washington - FBI Director James Comey considers President Donald Trump's explosive accusation that Barack Obama tapped his phones to be false, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Comey asked the Justice Department to correct Trump's unsubstantiated claim about his predecessor by publicly rejecting it, the Times said, citing senior US officials. The department has not done so.

Comey made the request on Saturday because "there is no evidence to support it and it insinuates that the FBI broke the law," the paper reported the officials as saying.

Trump made his claim in a tweet on Saturday.

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process," he wrote. "This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!" He provided no evidence to back up the claim.

Obama denied the allegation via a spokesman as "simply false." However, the Republican chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, said his panel would look into Trump's claim after the White House on Sunday urged Congress to investigate his allegation.

The accusation has prompted a firestorm of criticism, with many saying Trump's incendiary claim was aimed at diverting attention from a series of revelations about his aides' meetings with Russian officials.

Obama and Trump meet in the White House

  • Barack Obama and Donald Trump on Thursday put past animosity aside during a 90-minute White House meeting designed to quell fears about the health of the world's pre-eminent democracy.
  • White House staffers stand on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as they await the arrival of US President-elect Donald Trump for a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, November 10, 2016.
  • "Mr President, it was a great honour being with you," Trump said, calling Obama a "very good man." .
  • As protests against the Republican property mogul's shock election rumbled across US cities and world capitals contended with a suddenly uncertain world order, Obama and Trump vowed to carry out a smooth transition of power.
  • After a nasty campaign that culminated in the election of a 70-year-old billionaire who has never held public office and who gained power on a far-right platform, the message was: this is business as usual in a democracy.
  • "It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face," Obama said.
  • Trump appeared more subdued than usual, and was unusually cautious and deferential in his remarks.
  • The outgoing Democratic president and his successor huddled one-on-one in the Oval Office, for what Obama characterized as an "excellent conversation" and then put on a remarkably civil joint public appearance.
  • After all, Trump championed the so-called "birther movement" challenging that Obama was actually born in the United States - a suggestion laden with deep racial overtones - only dropping the position recently.
  • "Here's a good rule. Don't answer questions when they just start yelling," Obama told Trump.
  • Trump - who previously called Obama the "most ignorant president in our history" - said he looked forward to receiving the president's counsel. Obama - who previously said Trump was a whiner and "uniquely unqualified" to be commander-in-chief - vowed his support.
  • The two men ended the improbable and historic White House encounter with a handshake and refused to take questions, appearing to find common cause in their opinion of the press.
  • He (Obama) told Trump that his administration would "do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed, then the country succeeds."

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES