John McCain tells Trump: present evidence or retract wiretapping claim

Senior Republican John McCain has told Donald Trump to either present evidence proving Barack Obama was involved in wiretapping his phones or retract the claim.

McCain’s demand came after the House intelligence committee asked the president for evidence that phones at Trump Tower were tapped during the campaign.

“I think the president has one of two choices: either retract or to provide the information that the American people deserve, because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we have got a serious issue here to say the least,” McCain said.

Trump asserted in a tweet last week: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He continued the allegation against Obama in other tweets but offered no evidence.

The committee’s request for evidence by Monday was made in a letter sent to the justice department by the House committee chairman, Republican Devin Nunes, and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, a senior congressional aide said on Saturday. The aide wasn’t authorised to discuss the request by name and requested anonymity.

Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has said that nothing matching Trump’s claims took place. Despite the denial, Trump has asked Congress to investigate.

During the past week, Schiff said the committee would answer the president’s call to investigate the claim. He also said he would ask the FBI director, James Comey, directly when he appears later this month before the full committee, which is investigating Russian activities during the election.