Senate Intel: "No indications" of Trump Tower surveillance or wiretapping

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Thursday that they had seen “no indications” that Trump Tower was wiretapped by the United States government during the 2016 campaign as claimed by President Trump.

“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., in a short joint statement.

Those comments contradicting Mr. Trump put the Senate Intelligence Committee in line with recent statements made by the heads of the House Intelligence Committee and other top Congressional leaders. Both Senate and House Intelligence Committees are leading the congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters in a press conference that according to the intelligence committees, “no such wiretap existed.” When asked whether or not he believed Mr. Trump, Ryan responded, “We’ve cleared that up. That -- that we’ve seen no evidence of that.”

In a Wednesday evening interview with Fox News, Mr. Trump addressed his wiretapping claims by arguing that his use of the word wiretapping in quotes “really covers surveillance and many other things.”

“I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks,” he predicted.

Also on Wednesday, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., knocked down the President’s initial tweet. “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” Nunes told reporters. He noted if you took Mr. Trump’s tweet “literally” then “clearly the president was wrong.” However the California Republican left room for the possibility that Mr. Trump advisers were swept up in what’s called “incidental collection” during the monitoring of a foreign target.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey will testify publically before the House Intelligence Committee where committee Democrats will be sure to force Comey to confront the questions raised by Mr. Trump’s tweet.