Flanked by Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin (L) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (R), President Donald Trump attends a working lunch at his golf course in Potomac Falls, Virginia, on Saturday. Congressional lawmakers said Sunday that the truth about the president’s allegation that former President Barack Obama had his New York City tower wiretapped should be put to rest soon. Pool photo by Pete Marovich/UPI
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March 12 — President Donald Trump’s unsupported accusations that former President Barack Obama planted bugs in his Manhattan headquarters before last year’s election should soon be clarified, multiple top lawmakers said Sunday.
In a letter to the Justice Department this weekend, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee asked for supporting evidence of the president’s claim within the next few days.
Panel chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and its top-ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sent the letter to the acting U.S. attorney general Saturday asking for the proof, if the department can provide it, by Monday.
A number of officials have demanded in recent days that Trump’s administration either back the charge with proof or publicly debunk it.
“The president has one of two choices — either retract or provide the information that the American people deserve,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “I have no reason to believe that the charge is true, but I also believe that the president of the United States could clear this up in a minute.”
Schiff said Sunday he doesn’t expect the Justice Department to meet the Monday deadline because there has never been any evidence that Obama tapped New York’s Trump Tower.
“I think on March 20, if not before, we’ll be able to put this to rest,” Schiff told ABC News. “I don’t think anyone has any question about this. The only question is why the president would make up such a thing?”
FBI Director James Comey, who previously asked the department to publicly deny Trump’s allegation, will appear before the House panel on March 20.
Congressional Democrats and some Republicans have renounced Trump’s charges since they were tweeted March 4. In recent days, Republicans have cast additional doubt.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told CBS News Sunday that he hasn’t seen any evidence supporting Trump’s allegation.
“That wasn’t really part of the health care marketing campaign,” Ryan said of the president’s unexpected wiretap remarks.
A number of Obama administration officials and the former president himself have emphatically dismissed the accusation.