- President Trump on Saturday alleged that Obama wiretapped his phones
- Obama spokesperson and former aides denied the allegation
- FBI director Comey was said to be 'incredulous' over the allegation
- Comey asked Justice Department to publicly knock down Trump's claim
- White House aides said Trump is not convinced by Comey's denial
FBI Director James Comey was 'incredulous' over President Donald Trump's allegation over the weekend that Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his phones during the election campaign, CNN reported on Monday.
Trump dropped the latest political bombshell on Washington this past Saturday when he tweeted: 'Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!'
The jaw-dropping allegation was denied by Obama's spokesperson and roundly denounced by Democrats.
Republicans, meanwhile, urged the White House to come forward with evidence to support Trump's charge.
Comey was so taken aback by Trump's allegation that he reportedly ordered his aides to lobby his bosses at the Justice Department to publicly refute the president's claim.
The FBI chief is eager to push back on the allegation because it insinuates that his agency broke the law by conducting politically motivated espionage against an opposition candidate for president, according to CNN.
FBI Director James Comey (left) was 'incredulous' over President Donald Trump's (right) allegation over the weekend that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phones during the election campaign
A spokesman for Obama (pictured in Washington on Sunday) denied Trump's allegation as 'simply false' on Saturday afternoon
A top-level source told CNN that Comey felt compelled that 'institutionally he has to push back on this' due to the magnitude of the unsubstantiated allegations.
Comey is reportedly frustrated by the Justice Department's unwillingness to forcefully knock down Trump's claims.
It is not clear why Comey himself did not issue a statement on his own behalf.
CNN reported that Comey is now mulling the appropriate forum and manner in which he will seek to refute the allegation.
'He might come out and say only time will tell, but right now they (FBI and DOJ) should be in the exact same place and they're not,' CNN quoted a 'source familiar with the matter' as saying.
If Comey publicly shoots down the president's claims, it may very well set up a confrontation between the two men that could ultimately cost the FBI director his job.
DID OBAMA ORDER THE WIRETAPPING ON TRUMP TOWER?
President Trump claimed in a series of tweets that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower back in October, early Saturday morning.
The Obama administration quickly denied Trump's allegations that the former president had ordered a wiretap on the New York building on Saturday.
A statement put forth by his team said: 'A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice.
'As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.'
However, most glaringly, the statement did not deny allegations that there was a wiretap. It simply said Obama never ordered one on Trump.
This means that another federal agency may have sought authorization to listen in on Trump Tower and received it.
'Does he know of possibility there might be a confrontation and be fired by the President? Sure,' the source said.
'Does he worry about it? No.'
Earlier on Monday, top Trump aides said they do not believe Comey's reported denial that Obama ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower before the election.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News Trump 'firmly believes' that the wiretapping allegations that they say have been 'reported pretty widely' should be looked at by Congress.
The White House is claiming that reports from the New York Times, BBC and Fox News back up the explosive charges against the previous president, even though there's no such evidence as Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos today pointed out.
Sanders insisted, 'It does back up the fact that the administration was wiretapping American citizens.'
'There was wide reporting suggesting that his administration, whether it was directly ordered by this president specifically, his administration could have done this.'
The reports she mentioned appear not to have confirmed the existence of the wiretap, but reported Trump's tweets which first raised the issue.
Sanders also said Trump doesn't necessarily believe that Comey called on the Justice Department to publicly refute the president's wiretapping claims in the first place.
She argued that the president has not seen a 'firm denial from the FBI.'
The Trump spokeswoman could not say whether the president had called Comey himself to ask him about the possibility that the agency was spying on him.
She suggested that it would be improper, and that is why the president has requested that the House Intelligence Committee probe the matter.
Trump launched a Twitter tirade early Saturday accusing Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower prior to the election
Trump has not provided any evidence to support his claims
'From my understanding,' she said, 'there is a process that this has to follow.'
Sanders clashed repeatedly with Stephanopolous, who cut her off repeatedly - and said later, to DailyMail.com, that she misheard his first question, leading to claim that the president doesn't believe Comey.
Stephanopolous attacked her in the interview for claiming reports from the New York Times and others backed up the president, when they simply did not.
He said that only one report suggested there had been a court-ordered wiretap - which would not have been illegal.
After the shocking allegation of wiretapping that Trump compared to the Watergate scandal on Saturday, presidential aide Kellyanne Conway challenged Comey to reveal what he knows about the president's claims.
Conway last night demanded that Comey speak on the record if he wants to discredit the charges, although she could not confirm in the interview, on Fox News, that Trump knew for sure that the allegation is true.
Sanders had the same problem in a Sunday morning interview on ABC News.
This Week host Martha Raddatz challenged her to back up the president's previous claim that the wiretapping definitely happened.
'You keep saying, if, if, if. The president of the United States said it was a fact,' said Raddatz.
Trump's claims seem to have stemmed from a Thursday evening radio show hosted by Mark Levin that claimed Obama executed a 'silent coup' of Trump via 'police state' tactics, according to Breitbart News.
In June last year, the Obama administration filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Trump and several advisers but the request was denied, according to multiple reports at the time.
Some media outlets say a follow-up request, narrower in scope was made in October, approved and led to an investigation, however this has not been verified.
According to those claims, the new FISA request was focused on a Trump computer server alleging possible links with Russian banks. Some claim the server was based in Trump Tower.
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