The DoJ just delivered documents to congressional committees responding to their request for information that could shed light on President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered U.S. agencies to spy on him. Reuters reports that a congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the House Intelligence Committee was examining the documents and might issue a public statement about them later on Friday.
As The Hill reports, it’s unclear what’s in the documents, which CNN reported separately had also been delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee, though that report could not be immediately confirmed.
Reuters reports a ‘government source’ an initial examination of the material turned over by the Justice Department indicates that it contains no evidence to confirm Trump’s claims.
Leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence committees, including from Trump’s Republican Party, have said they have found no evidence to substantiate Trump’s claims that Obama ordered U.S. agencies to spy on Trump or his entourage. The White House has publicly offered no proof of the allegation. On Monday, the House panel sent the Justice Department a letter asking for copies of any court orders related to Trump or his associates which might have been issued last year under an electronic surveillance law or a wide-ranging anti-crime statute.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has sought to clarify the claims, saying that Trump put the wiretapping accusation “in quotes” and was more broadly referring to surveillance activities by the Obama administration.
But, The Hill continues, Spicer also said that Trump “stands by” his initial tweets on the subject, and Trump on Friday joked about the wiretapping claims during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The House Intelligence Committee will hold an open hearing on Russian interference in the election on Monday, where questions about Trump’s claims are sure to be raised. Lawmakers will have the opportunity to press FBI Director James Comey on the issue.
One way or another, we suspect speculation about what the documets contain will quickly become the news-cycle narrative for the weekend.
Updates to follow…