White House Demands Congress Probe Obama Over 2016 Election
On Sunday, the White House asked Congress to investigate the Obama administration's actions in the 2016 election, according to the Associated Press and Reuters. The probe would reportedly be part of Congress's ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The report came out Sunday morning after President Trump spent part of the weekend tweeting that Obama had wire-tapped Trump Tower during the campaign season.
According to Reuters, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and other administration officials would no longer comment on the wire-tapping claims until Congress completed an investigation. If that sounds fishy to you, it probably should: Although Trump blasted the wire-tapping claims all over Twitter on Saturday, he made no mention of any evidence. Now, if the White House won't comment again until after an investigation, it's likely the public won't learn how Trump "just found out" about the alleged wire-tapping anytime soon — at least, not unless he decides to tell us on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has denied the wire-tapping accusations altogether. In a statement issued on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Obama White House said, "...Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
BREAKING: White House demands that Congress investigate whether Obama abused executive powers in connection with 2016 election.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 5, 2017
In other words, an investigation may clear the air, but it may also muddy the waters. Talk of an investigation into the 2016 election began last year before the election even came to a close. In October, the government suspected Russia's involvement in a hack of the Democratic National Committee. Since then, Trump's ties to Russia, as well as the alleged connections of some of his Cabinet members, have been called into question. Ultimately, an investigation seemed necessary on both sides of the aisle.
Now, it seems the Trump administration wants to bring its predecessor into the scope of the investigation. On Twitter over the weekend, Trump compared Obama and the alleged wire-tapping to former President Richard Nixon and his Watergate scandal. It remains to be seen if there's any credibility to Trump's claims.
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
The White House's statement on Sunday pointed to "reports" of "potentially politically motivated investigations" leading up to the 2016 election. The vague language offered no more insight than did Trump's tweets from a day earlier.
For Obama, the allegations come at a time when the former president appears ready to return to the political scene. Last week, former Attorney General Eric Holder told the media that Obama is "ready to roll." With talk of an investigation escalating, Obama's battle with Trump may not be over.