WASHINGTON - The White House demanded on Sunday that Congress investigate whether former President Barack Obama abused his executive powers in connection with the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump leveled that claim on Saturday when he accused his predecessor of tapping telephones at Trump Tower. But Trump offered no supporting evidence, a spokesman for Obama denied the claim as "simply false" and lawmakers in both parties asked for proof.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement Sunday that reports "concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling."
"President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016," Spicer said.
It was unclear what reports Spicer was referring to, and what prompted Trump to make the allegation.
Spicer ended the statement by saying that neither the White House nor Trump will comment further "until such oversight is conducted."
In a series of morning tweets Saturday, Trump suggested Obama was behind a politically motivated plot to upend his campaign. He compared the alleged events to "Nixon/Watergate" and "McCarthyism!" And he called Obama a "Bad (or sick) guy."
The Watergate break-in during the Nixon administration led to President Richard Nixon's resignation and the conviction of several aides. Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy's reckless and unsupported charges of communist infiltration in federal government during the 1950s gave rise to the term "McCarthyism."