President Donald Trump does not believe FBI director James Comey, who over the weekend denied claims that former President Barack Obama illegally wiretapped Trump Tower during last year's presidential election, a White House spokeswoman said Monday.
Comey asked the Justice Department to reject Trump's accusation over the weekend, calling it "highly charged" and untrue, The New York Times reported.
Trump took to Twitter over the weekend to accuse the former president of listening to Trump Tower communications.
"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory," he wrote Saturday. In a subsequent tweet he added: "Is it legal for a sitting president to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election?"
He did not provide evidence to back up his claims.
In an interview Monday morning on "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos asked White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders if Trump accepted Comey's denial.
"You know, I don't think he does," Sanders said. "I think he firmly believes that this is a storyline that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets."
It was unclear to which reports Sanders was referring, although administration officials told The New York Times that Trump's allegation was "primarily based on unverified claims by Breitbart News and conservative talk radio hosts that secret warrants were issued authorizing the tapping of the phones of Mr. Trump and his aides at Trump Tower in New York."
Sanders, however, painted Trump as the victim of a media double standard, pointing at ongoing coverage of links between Russian officials and the Trump administration before November's election.
"Frankly, George, I think if the president walked across the Potomac, the media would report he can't swim," Sanders told Stephanopoulos. "This is a constant battle we're having to fight. All we're asking is that the double standard be washed away and we allow the congressional committee to do their job."
In a statement through a spokesman on Saturday, Obama unequivocally denied the accusation.
"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said. "As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
Trump has called for Congress to investigate whether the accusation is true and whether Obama abused his power while in office.
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