WASHINGTON — The Justice Department confirmed in a court filing there is no evidence that Trump Tower was targeted for surveillance by the Obama administration — contradicting President Trump's controversial claim first made in March.
A "Motion for Summary Judgment" filed Friday evening in D.C. district court says neither the FBI nor the Justice Department's National Security Division have records confirming wiretaps that Trump accused the Obama administration of ordering.
The document was submitted in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by American Oversight, a government watchdog group. While the FBI had denied any such surveillance, it's the first time the Justice Department has issued a denial. It was done the Friday night before Labor Day.
As controversy over the Trump campaign's ties to Russia intensified earlier this year, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Obama of wiretapping him during the 2016 election. Without providing any evidence, he called the alleged taps "McCarthyism" and even called Obama "bad" or "sick."
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
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Then-FBI director James Comey, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper all previously said there was no indication the president's claims were true. Presidents are barred by law from wiretapping without approval from a special court.
Trump officials later clarified by saying he was referring to routine intelligence investigations of foreign officials that may have intercepted Trump officials' communications, which were "unmasked" or identified to Obama intelligence officials.
The DOJ document also makes clear that its response does not "confirm or deny" the existence of other records that might pertain to American Oversight's request that must be withheld due to national security concerns, including disclosing "intelligence sources and methods."