FBI Chief Asks Justice Dept to Dispute Trump's Accusations of Obama-Era Wiretap
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has asked the Justice Department to dispute President Donald Trump's allegation that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap on telephones at Trump Tower in New York last year.
U.S. officials who spoke to the Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times said Comey's request followed Trump's accusation on Twitter Saturday. Trump has offered no evidence to support his claim.
What is not clear is why Comey has not disputed the statement himself. He was FBI director under Obama, and his department has been a lead in the ongoing investigation of Russian influence on last year's election.
Under U.S. law, a president cannot order someone's phone to be wiretapped. Such a move would require approval by a federal judge and be based on reasonable grounds to suspect why a citizen's telephone calls should be monitored.
Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called Trump's charge simply false. "There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate or against his campaign," Clapper told NBC.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said in a statement Sunday his committee "will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party's campaign officials or surrogates."The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Trump's accusation was based on "conspiracy-based news."
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement Sunday saying the president is requesting the committees to "determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016." He added that neither Trump nor the White House would offer further comment "until such oversight is conducted."
North Korean Missiles Land in Japanese Waters
North Korea fired four ballistic missiles Monday, three of which landed in Japanese waters, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
"North Korea today fired four ballistic missiles almost simultaneously and they flew some 1,000 kilometers," Abe said in parliament. "Three of them landed in our country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)."
Japanese officials described the launches as a grave threat and said they lodged "strong protests" with nuclear-armed North Korea.
"The launches are clearly in violation of Security Council resolutions. It is an extremely dangerous action," Abe said during lawmaker questions in parliament.
The South Korean military officials said "multiple ballistic missiles" were launched from the Tongchang-ri region near the North's border with China. They did not specify the number of missiles.
The move comes as South Korea and the United States are holding their joint military exercises, which Pyongyang sees as preparations for an invasion. The exercises usually draw condemnation and retribution from Pyongyang.
During last year's drills, North Korea fired multiple short to medium range missiles and announced it could place nuclear warheads on its weapons.