Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey confirmed Monday he has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s accusations that former President Barack Obama had him surveilled during the 2016 election.
While testifying before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Comey told Congress that the FBI was indeed investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to meddle with the election. Comey also confirmed he “has no information that supports” Trump’s tweets accusing Obama of ordering surveillance on him.
“We have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey said during the hearing. “The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”
Comey went on to describe the “statutory framework” in which courts are required to approve electronic surveillance for criminal and national security cases.
“It’s a rigorous, rigorous process,” Comey said, “that involves all three branches of government, and it’s one we’ve lived with since the late 1970s. That’s how it works.”
“So no individual in the United States can direct electronic surveillance of anyone,” Comey continued. “It has to go through an application process, ask a judge, the judge can then make the order.”
Comey then confirmed that “no President” could single-handedly order a wiretap of anyone.
When asked if surveillance had been requested on Trump but then turned down by the court, Comey said he could not answer.
“It’s one of those subjects I can’t comment on one way or another,” Comey said. “Please don’t interpret that in any way other than I just can’t talk about anything that relates to the FISA process in an open setting.”