By Michael D. Shear and Michael S. Schmidt, nytimes.com
President Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower the month before the election, leveling the explosive allegation without offering any evidence.
Mr. Trump called his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy” on Twitter as he fired off a series of messages claiming that Mr. Obama “had my ‘wires tapped.’” He likened the supposed tapping to “Nixon/Watergate” and “McCarthyism,” though he did not say where he had gotten his information.
A spokesman for Mr. Obama said any suggestion that the former president had ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”
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
During the 2016 campaign, the federal authorities began an investigation into links between Trump associates and the Russian government, an issue that continues to dog Mr. Trump. His aides declined to clarify on Saturday whether the president’s allegations were based on briefings from intelligence or law enforcement officials — which could mean that Mr. Trump was revealing previously unknown details about the investigation — or on something else, like a news report.
But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working to secure access to what Mr. McGahn believed to be an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates.
The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such an order exists. It would be a highly unusual breach of the Justice Department’s traditional independence on law enforcement matters for the White House to order it to turn over such an investigative document.