NEW YORK CITY — Investigators with the FBI and Department of Justice found no evidence that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in Midtown during the 2016 campaign, despite President Donald Trump's claims otherwise, officials said.
Southern California Rep. Adam Schiff asked FBI Director James Comey about Trump's accusations, which were broadcast on Twitter, before the intelligence committee Monday morning.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
"The FBI and the Department of Justice have no evidence to support those tweets," Comey said flatly.
Comey's comments are the most authoritative rebuke of Trump's claims that garnered backlash almost immediately after they were published.
Comey described the process of ordering any surveillance of this type, saying that it couldn't be ordered unilaterally and would instead involve all three branches of government.
"No individual can direct electronic surveillance of anyone," Comey said. "No president could."
There has been no response from the White House.
Schiff asked Comey if he and his investigators engaged in McCarthyism, referring to Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy who led an aggressive campaign to find and expose communists in America in 1954.
"I try very hard to not engage in any 'isms' of any kind, including McCarthyism," Comey replied.
Comey's comments came after he confirmed that his bureau is investigating whether there was any collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.
That confirmation is highly unusual, according to Comey, who refused to elaborate on how the investigation was being conducted and who investigators were looking at.