President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower have drawn ire from many people, including members of his own party.
FBI Director James Comey on Monday said he has “no information that supports” Trump’s tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping him.
Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the Republican and Democratic (respectively) chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said in a statement, “Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016.”
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, reportedly the first Republican to say Obama deserves an apology, said he sees “no indication” that the accusations are true and that he therefore “would [not] have ever made” the allegation.
“And frankly, unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think the president President Obama is owed an apology in that regard, because if he didn’t do it, we shouldn’t be reckless in accusations that he did,” Cole said to a group of reporters.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) on Sunday said, “To quote my 85-year-old father, Bob Hurd, who has given this advice to all of my friends when they got married, it never hurts to say you’re sorry.”
When asked outright on ABC’s “This Week” whether the president should apologize to his predecessor Hurd said, “I think so. I think it helps with our allies. We got to make sure that we’re all working together. We live in a very dangerous world, and we can’t do this alone.”
“And it’s not just sorry to the president,” Hurd added, “but also to the U.K. for the claims, or the intimation, that the U.K. was involved in this as well.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer previously said the U.K. was involved in the wiretapping scheme against Trump as well. Spicer was citing an unproven Fox News report. A British security official told Reuters the claims are “totally untrue and quite frankly absurd.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake discussed the allegations on KTAR Arizona radio show “Mac & Gaydos.” When asked if he believed the unfounded claims against Obama, Flake said he never believed them from the start.
“No, I don’t, I don’t. I never believed it from the beginning, and it’s been confirmed by every intelligence arm that we have,” Flake said. “That would’ve been a big, big deal, had that happened, and I was quite confident that it didn’t, and there’s simply no evidence that that occurred.”
When asked if he would tell the president to apologize and admit he was wrong Flake answered, “I think that ought to happen, and we ought to move on.
Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta said, ahead of Comey’s announcement, that it’s time for the president to “move on.”
“Well, frankly, I don’t get it, and I don’t think America gets it, as to why the president continues to defend his statements here,” Panetta said on NBC’s “TODAY.” “He made an allegation, there’s no evidence to support it. He asked for an investigation by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. They’ve done that and determined there’s no evidence. I think the time has come for the president to accept the responsibility that he made a mistake here, that there is no truth to this allegation. He probably should apologize, I think, to President Obama, and frankly, he should move on.”
“It is impacting on our ability to deal with other countries, and to deal with the issues related to our national security,” Panetta added. “So I think it’s just very important for this president to put this issue aside and move on to the real responsibilities he has as president.”
Democrats have called on Trump to apologize as well. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the president’s claims have “severely damaged his credibility.”
“President Trump owes the American people and President Obama more than just an explanation, but an apology,” Schumer said. “He should admit he was wrong, stop the outlandish Tweets, and get to work on behalf of this country.”
Schumer added, “President Trump has severely damaged his credibility, which is essential to being president. He needs to retract his claim immediately.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on NBC’s “Meet The Press” said there is “no evidence to support the president’s claim.”
“I hope we can put an end to this wild goose chase, because what the president said was just patently false, and the wrecking ball it created now has banged into our British allies and our German allies. It’s continuing to grow in terms of damage, and he needs to put an end to this.”
“Maybe this is the way [Trump] conducted his real estate business, with half truths and sometimes no truths and a lot of bluster,” Schiff continued. “That, in my opinion, is no way to run a business, but it’s an even worse way to run a country.”
During an inevitable future time of crisis, Schiff said, “we need to be able to believe our president, and he’s making it very, very difficult.”
The White House, meanwhile, has not given up on the president’s allegations. At Tuesday’s White House briefing an audience member asked Spicer, “Can we expect the President to, this week, present evidence that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama Or will he speak about it”
“Let’s see how the week goes,” Spicer responded.