More Republicans Call for Trump to Retract Obama Wiretap ClaimsBy and
McCain, Dent, King all say Trump should walk back tweets
Trump claimed in tweet that predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower
A growing roster of Republicans are calling on President Donald Trump to retract his claim that he was wiretapped during last year’s election after FBI Director James Comey said there was no evidence to support that accusation.
The list includes Senator John McCain of Arizona and moderate Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Republicans who both said the president needs to walk back his statement that former President Barack Obama was spying on Trump Tower during the White House campaign last year. New York Representative Peter King and Arizona Senator Jeff Flake also made similar statements.
"I think that he should retract his comment," McCain told reporters Tuesday. "He should retract unless he has evidence that would show Obama was behind that and obviously there has not been that evidence."
Dent, speaking Monday night on MSNBC, said, "Yes, he should retract. And if I were in his shoes -- I would apologize if I were in his shoes, absolutely."
Comey confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee on Monday that the bureau is probing potential ties between Trump’s associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign, and he also said no evidence supports the claim first raised by the president last month in a tweet.
“I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey told the panel during an unusual public hearing that lasted more than five hours.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dodged the question when asked by reporters Tuesday whether he was concerned the fight was diverting too much political energy.
"You could ask the White House a question like that, but I have heard prior to that no indication that this occurred," he said.
The White House has defended the allegations, which started with a tweet accusing Obama of having the tower "wiretapped." Administration officials have since said that phrasing could signify a number of different surveillance techniques. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later cited a news story purporting to show the involvement of British intelligence in the matter.
"The president has to find a way, I think, to walk it back," King said during an appearance Tuesday on WWOR radio in New York.
King said the first casualty could be Trump’s credibility in the event of a real crisis involving North Korea, China, Russia or a terrorist group.
"That’s what he does have to worry about," the New York Republican said. "Where the president gets some real intelligence saying a real attack could be occurring and people may think it’s the same as his tweet about Obama."
Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was asked Tuesday if the FBI director’s statement refuting the wiretap charge undermines the credibility of the White House.
"I don’t think from the beginning there was a lot of credence placed in the statements so I don’t think much changed yesterday," Corker said.