Fox News' Tucker Carlson pressed President Donald Trump Wednesday for evidence of the president's claim that former President Barack Obama "wiretapped" him before the election. Trump indicated that his administration would be sharing information on the alleged surveillance "very soon."
"On March 4," Tucker recounted, "6:35 in the morning, you're down in Florida and you tweet, 'The former administration wiretapped me, surveilled me, at Trump Tower during the last election.' Um, how did you find out? You said, 'I just found out.' How did you learn that?"
"Well, I've been reading about things," the president replied. "I read in, I think it was a Jan. 20 New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article I think they used that exact term." He continued:
I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier, the day previous, where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, "Wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about."
I've been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee, and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon, that hasn't been submitted as of yet.
"But it's potentially a very serious situation," Trump concluded.
"So, 51,000 people retweeted that," Carlson continued, "so a lot of people thought that was plausible — they believe you, you're the president. You're in charge of the agencies though, every agency reports to you. Why not immediately go to them, and gather evidence to support that?"
Trump responded that he didn't "want to do anything that's going to violate the strength of an agency," adding:
You know we have enough problems. And by the way, with the CIA, just want people to know, the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken, that was during the Obama years, that was not during us, that was during the Obama situation. Mike Pompeo is there now doing a fantastic job.
"But we will be submitting certain things and I will be perhaps speaking about this next week," the president said, "but it's right now before the committee, and I think I want it there. I have a lot of confidence in the committee. "
"Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it?" Carlson pressed. "Don't you devalue your words when you can't provide evidence?"
"Well, because the New York Times wrote about it," Trump argued, "not that I respect the New York Times, I call it the 'failing New York Times,' but they did write on Jan. 20, using the word 'wiretap.' Other people have come out with."
"Right, but you're the president. You have the ability to gather all the evidence you want," Carlson replied.
"I do, I do," Trump agreed, "but I think that frankly, we have a lot right now."
The president continued:
And I think if you watch, if you watched Bret Baier, and what he was saying and what he was talking about, and how he mentioned the word "wiretap," you would feel very confident that you could mention the name, he mentioned it. And other people have mentioned it.
But if you take a look at some of the things written about wiretapping and eavesdropping — and don't forget when I say "wiretapping," those words were in quotes, that really covers, because wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff, but that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact it was in quotes, but that's a very important thing. But "wiretap" covers a lot of different things.
"I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks," he concluded.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 16, 2017
Trump set the political world aflame when he made the accusations of Obama's wiretapping on his Twitter account and then the next day demanded that Congress investigate his claims. Talk radio host Mark Levin has been one of the strongest proponents for the argument that the wiretapping order was likely.
A report said that FBI Director James Comey requested that the Justice Department refute Trump's accusations, a request they reported denied. Another reported said that Comey was going to speak publicly on the matter, but he has now indicated that he will testify before the House Intelligence Committee publicly.