No proof of Trump’s phone tapping: Intelligence panel

Krishnanand Tripathi
File photo:  Donald Trump and talks with former president Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

File photo: Donald Trump and talks with former president Barack Obama on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.

In a strong rebuke to US President Donald Trump, a bi-partisan Senate Intelligence panel has rejected Trump’s allegation of his phones being wiretapped at the behest of his predecessor Barack Obama before the presidential election.

Donald Trump had claimed in a series of tweets that the phone lines of his Trump Tower were being wiretapped on the directions of outgoing US President Obama.

Trump had tweeted on March 04: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Trump further said: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

Trump’s remark had stirred a massive controversy in the US politics as US media had then criticised the President for making allegations without offering any evidence to back them.

Trump had then asked the Congress to probe his allegations against Barack Obama.

In its report, Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a Repbulican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat, said: “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after the Election Day 2016.”

“We have not seen any evidence that there was a wiretap or a (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court order against Trump Tower or somebody in Trump Tower,” Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN.

Ryan, however said that he still trusted that the phone tapping accusations by Donald Trump would not shake public confidence in the credibility of White House.

Following the phone tapping accusations by Trump, citing, US media, citing ‘sources’ in FBI, had reported that the agency had asked department of justice to repudiate President’s allegations of wire tapping.

The allegation of phone tapping was seen as a ploy to deflect the public attention from the reports of close connections between Russian officials and Trump’s associates during the US Presidential election that also led to resignation of Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

President Trump had fired his national security advisor Michael Flynn in less than one month after his appointment over the allegations that Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about a phone to call to Russian ambassador in the country over the possible US sanctions.

The call was made ahead of Trump’s inauguration in January this year.

Initial days of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen unprecedented confrontation between the President on one side and US intelligence agencies and US media outlets on the other side.