The leaders of the House intelligence panel issued emphatically different statements Sunday on President Donald Trump’s allegations Saturday that President Barack Obama had wiretapped his presidential campaign.
Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama’s spokesman has denied it.
The California Republican says in a statement his committee “will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates.”
The committee was already investigating Russian interference in the presidential election.
Here’s reaction to the White House’s demand Sunday that Congress, through its intelligence committees, investigate whether former President Barack Obama abused his executive powers in connection with that campaign.
“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016. Neither the White House nor the president will comment further until such oversight is conducted.” — White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in a statement.
“Perhaps the president has information that is not yet available to us or to the public. And, if it’s true, obviously, we’re going to find out very quickly. And, if it isn’t, then, obviously, he’ll have to explain what he meant by it.” — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I will say that, for the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.” — James Clapper, director of national intelligence under Obama, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I don’t have any doubt that President Obama has been telling the truth.” — Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, on NBC.
“It’s called a wrap-up smear. You make up something. Then you have the press write about it. And then you say, everybody is writing about this charge. It’s a tool of an authoritarian.” — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, on CNN.
“I think he’s going off of information that he’s seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential. And if it is, this is the greatest overreach and the greatest abuse of power that I think we have ever seen and a huge attack on democracy itself.” — Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We know exactly why President Trump tweeted what he tweeted. Because there is one page in the Trump White House crisis management playbook. And that is simply to tweet or say something outrageous to distract from a scandal.” — Former Obama press secretary Josh Earnest, on ABC.
“We’ve already begun an inquiry on the Intelligence Committee into Russia’s efforts to undermine confidence in our political system last year and in our interest all around the world. That inquiry is going to be thorough, and we’re going to follow the facts wherever they lead us. And I’m sure that this matter will be a part of that inquiry.” — Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on “Fox News Sunday.”
“I thought the president’s comments could no longer surprise me, but, boy, this one yesterday surprised me. To make that type of claim without any evidence is, I think, very reckless.” — Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“It is so important that we do an in-depth, exhaustive, bipartisan, independent investigation, because the American people deserve answers to all of these allegations and counterallegations, so that we can get on with the business of this country.” — Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on CBS.
“One of the focus points of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is the U.S. government’s response to actions taken by Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign. As such, the committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.” — Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in a statement.
“For a president of the United States to make such an incendiary charge — and one that discredits our democracy in the eyes of the world — is as destructive as it was baseless.” — California Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a statement.