Sean Spicer passes the buck for Trump's Obama wiretapping theory to Congress
White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated the executive branch will no longer comment on President Donald Trump's unfounded claim that Barack Obama had his campaign wiretapped until a congressional investigation into the matter is completed, CNN reported Sunday.
"Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling," Spicer said in a statement posted to his Twitter account. "President Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016."
"Neither the White House nor the president will comment further until such oversight is conducted," Spicer added.
The move could be interpreted as a clever sleight of hand to conveniently relieve Spicer and fellow White House staff of the need to further evidence Trump's claims.
Backing Trump up here could be difficult. As with previous theories Trump has had about supposed interference in the 2016 elections, the president didn't offer any information that might justify his conclusions, and his own staff seemed blindsided that he floated them in the first place.
However, the idea does seem to be an extrapolation of other reports, particularly that the FBI sought Foreign Intelligence Service Act warrants on associates of Trump to determine the extent of their ties to the Russian government, which is much different than the Watergate-style act of political espionage the president is asserting. In fact, the president may have unintentionally offered another insight into just how far those investigations have penetrated into his inner circle.