U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg told Fox News on Monday morning that he has seen no evidence to support President Donald J. Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phone lines during the 2016 election.
“I don’t think the FBI is the Obama team, and I don’t think the men and women who are career prosecutors at DOJ belong to any team other than a blindfolded woman holding a pair of scales,” said Gowdy, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Last week, President Trump accused the Obama administration of wiretapping Trump Tower, comparing it to Nixon and Watergate, without providing evidence. An Obama spokesman denied the accusation.
Gowdy, the former prosecutor who led the House Select Committee investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attacks, said if what Trump says is true, there should be evidence to corroborate his accusation.
“We have the tools to keep us safe and it’s prudent for those tools to be used lawfully and appropriately,” Gowdy said. “If they’re not used lawfully and appropriately, there’s a paper trail and we’ll be able to find it out.”
In televised interviews, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president firmly believes the allegations he made on Twitter over the weekend. Conway also said Trump has obtained classified information corroborating his claim. So far, there is no public evidence to support the accusation.
Gowdy said it was “hard to cross-examine tweets,” and that the Trump administration would have access to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the Obama administration reportedly used to tap the Trump Tower phones.
“The Obama team is no longer in charge,” Gowdy said. “So any information the current Department of Justice has that suggests the previous Department of Justice acted inappropriately, they are welcome to release it.”
The House and Senate intelligence committees and the FBI are investigating connections between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, as well as, Russia’s reported attempts to curtail Hillary Clinton’s chances in the election. On Sunday, Trump told the committees to investigate Obama’s potential abuse of executive powers.
Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Congressional delegation are concerned about the president’s accusation.
“This is a very serious allegation, and the White House needs to share any evidence they have to back it up with Congress as the relevant committees continue looking into Russian interference with last year’s election,” U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said in a prepared statement on Sunday.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said there could be implications of improper conduct between the Trump campaign and Russian officials if the Obama administration had received permission from the Justice Department to tap the phones of the Trump campaign.
“I’m very worried that our president is suggesting that the former president has done something illegal … I would be very worried if, in fact, the Obama administration was able to obtain a warrant lawfully about Trump campaign activity with foreign governments,” Graham said.
“It’s my job, as a United States senator, to get to the bottom of this,” Graham said.