President Donald Trump on Saturday
accused Barack Obama of tapping his phones
during last year's White House campaign,
charges that his predecessor denied as
"I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great
case out of the fact that President Obama
was tapping my phones in October, just prior
to Election!" Trump wrote on Twitter,
without providing evidence of the explosive
"How low has President Obama gone to tapp
(sic) my phones during the very sacred
election process. This is Nixon/Watergate.
Bad (or sick) guy!" he wrote in another
tweet, referring to the political scandal
that toppled president Richard Nixon in
An Obama spokesman called Trump's
accusations "simply false."
"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," spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a
statement issued several hours later.
"As part of that practice, neither President
Obama nor any White House official ever
ordered surveillance on any US citizen. Any
suggestion otherwise is simply false."
AFP / JIM
Barack Obama (right) and Donald Trump
frequently traded barbs on the campaign
Trump leveled the charges in a flurry of
tweets shortly after dawn, as his
administration remains mired in controversy
over communications between Russian
officials and some of his senior aides
including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump and Obama frequently traded barbs on
the campaign trail, and the Republican real
estate magnate was a driving force behind
the so-called "birther" movement that
questioned whether Obama was born on US soil
and eligible to be president.
The two men initially adopted a cordial tone
as Trump took office, though the president
has stepped up accusations against Obama in
recent weeks, blaming his predecessor for
being behind damaging leaks to journalists.
- 'Witch hunt' -
Since US intelligence took the unprecedented
step of publicly accusing Russia of trying
to swing the November election in Trump's
favor, questions have swirled about whether
some in Trump's campaign colluded with
A slew of associates, including Sessions and
disgraced former national security advisor
Michael Flynn, met Russian Ambassador Sergey
Kislyak before Trump took office.
AFP/File / JIM WATSON
Then-US President Barack Obama (R) and First
Lady Michelle Obama (L) welcome
then-President-elect Donald Trump (2nd-R)
and his wife Melania Trump to the White
House in Washington, DC January 20, 2017
The businessman-turned-politician, who
has accused his political foes of conducting
"a total witch hunt," on Saturday directed
his Twitter tirade at his Democratic
"Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my
'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before
the victory. Nothing found," Trump wrote a
day after departing Washington for a weekend
getaway at his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort for
the fourth time in five weeks.
The president compared the alleged action to
Senator Joe McCarthy's campaign in the 1950s
to root out supposed Communists and
sympathizers, which was marked by innuendo
and abusive investigations.
"Is it legal for a sitting President to be
'wire tapping' a race for president prior to
an election? Turned down by court earlier. A
NEW LOW!" Trump said, again providing no
proof of Obama's supposed efforts to seek a
court order to spy on the then-candidate.
- 'Extraordinary' -
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said a
court would have approved such a wiretap
only if there were cause.
"If there were the wiretap @realDonaldTrump
loudly alleges, such an extraordinary
warrant would only have been OKed by a court
for a reason," he said, referring to the
president by his Twitter handle.
Republicans were mostly silent on Trump's
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican
hosting a town hall in his native South
Carolina, told the event that "if it is
true, it would be the biggest political
scandal since Watergate."
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands
with former US President Barack Obama after
being sworn in as President on January 20,
2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC
Trump delivered a well-received address
to Congress late Wednesday, but the White
House was plunged back into turmoil the
following morning after it confirmed a news
report that Sessions failed to disclose two
meetings with ambassador Kislyak during last
year's election campaign.
Trump has repeatedly denied having any
personal ties to the Kremlin, and his aides
have denied or downplayed contacts with
But the accusations have continued amid
almost daily leaks revealing new details
about connections between Moscow and senior
One such revelation in the Washington Post
about a meeting between Sessions and Kislyak
prompted the Republican former US senator to
recuse himself from any investigations into
the presidential election campaign.
Sessions had told a Senate committee
under oath that he "did not have
communications with the Russians," but
reporters found that he had actually met the
Russian ambassador twice in the months
before taking up his post as attorney
general, the top US law enforcement officer.