Trump made his accusations against his predecessor as president in a series of March 4 tweets in which he said he'd "just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory" in the presidential election. Not publicly, and (as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes confirmed during today's press conference), not politically.
Trump's baseless claims of a very serious crime by a former president arrived a few days after right-wing radio host Mark Levin tossed out a conspiracy theory of Obama running a "silent coup" against the president.
The House intelligence committee on Wednesday ordered US snooping agencies to reveal whether they eavesdropped on any Trump or Clinton campaign personnel past year, and if so, whether they illegally "unmasked" any of those people by publicly revealing their communications. He added that they want the Justice Department to respond to requests for information before their March 20 hearing on the matter.
"I will leave it up to the [congressional committees] to issue their reports".
Sessions, whose agency has broad oversight over the FBI, which is also investigating Russian meddling, has faced criticism over his relationship with Trump, but he announced earlier this month that he was recusing himself from any investigation involving the campaign. He told reporters during his daily briefing that "the president used the word "wiretap" in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities". Intelligence officials have said they are willing to subpoena the Justice Department for possible evidence.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of S.C.is also expecting some answers.
According to an Federal Bureau of Investigation official, Comey has no plans for any public comments or announcements Wednesday.
The White House requested a congressional investigation into "whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016".
"However, as recent news stories, seem to illustrate, individuals talking to the media would appear to have wantonly disregarded these procedures", Nunes and Schiff wrote. Nunes, a fierce White House ally, told reporters that absent such evidence, he could conclude only that no wiretap had ever been put in place.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered a new explanation Monday.
Trump's critics have slammed the president for making the wiretapping claim on his Twitter account without evidence.