UPDATE 6:57 p.m. EST:
The Justice Department asked the House Intelligence Committee for "additional time" to collect evidence regarding President Trump's wiretapping claims on Monday evening.
The House Intelligence Committee had previously set a deadline of Monday for the agency to provide that evidence.
"This afternoon, the Department of Justice placed calls to representatives of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to ask for additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist," Department of Justice spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement to CNN.
The Trump administration has yet to produce any evidence of wiretapping and former President Barack Obama denied the allegations through a spokesman.
Original story below:
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday President Donald Trump was talking about general surveillance when he tweeted, accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 election.
"I think there's no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election," Spicer said. "The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities."
WATCH | Spicer tells the media the term wiretap meant general surveillance
A wiretap is defined as "a device that allows someone to secretly listen to phone conversations," according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Spicer added that Trump was referring to the Obama administration in general and not accusing the former president of any wrongdoing.
The series of tweets Trump sent on March 4 have raised questions about what he meant and whether there is any evidence to back his claims.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Spicer's comments come on the same day the Justice Department is expected to provide evidence to the House Intelligence Committee, either substantiating or disproving Trump's claim. So far, the White House hasn't provided any evidence to prove Trump Tower was wiretapped.
Spicer is the only White House official so far to provide an alternate definition for "wiretapping." In Sunday's interview with the Bergen County Record, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said CIA surveillance methods revealed last week in a Wikileaks dump could have been used.
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