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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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MARCH 5, 2017

     The allegations are serious if true and dumb if not. President Trump lashed out at his predecessor on Twitter early Saturday, claiming former President Barack Obama ordered electronic surveillance at Trump Tower during the election campaign.  “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory,” Trump tweeted at 6:35 a.m. as part of a flurry of early-morning tweets. “Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

     An Obama spokesman denied the charges Saturday afternoon.  “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen,” said the spokesman, Kevin Lewis. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.” Lewis’ statement did not address the possibility that Trump or his associates were surveilled as part of a Justice Department probe.  Trump, who drew a comparison to the Watergate scandal and called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy” in his tweets, did not offer evidence for his accusations.

     The claims echo charges that had been espoused by conservative radio host Mark Levin on Thursday and were detailed Friday on Breitbart News.  The Justice Department and FBI requested court approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to eavesdrop on Trump and his associates last June, according to published reports.  The FISA court, which typically accedes to administration requests, did not permit the monitoring.

     Five months later, according to a timeline laid out by Breitbart, the FBI successfully filed a narrower FISA request to monitor a server within Trump Tower that was suspected of ongoing contacts with Russian banks.

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