The Trump administration issued a call on Sunday for Congress to probe potentially "politically motivated" investigations initiated under former president Barack Obama, just a day after President Donald Trump made an extraordinary accusation that he was wiretapped at the height of the general election.
The president sparked a firestorm on Saturday by leveling an unsubstantiated claim against his predecessor, suggesting Obama ordered surveillance on his residence at New York's Trump Tower. The suggestion was flatly rejected by an Obama aide, but the controversy has reverberated across Washington and social media.
On Sunday, White House Press Secretary issued a statement calling on Congress to look into whether the Obama administration "abused" its investigative powers before leaving office.
"Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling," Spicer said in a statement, but did not elaborate on which reports had made the wiretapping claim.
Last year, a few conservative-leaning publications reported that the FBI had obtained a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) court warrant—a request that would have been routed through the Justice Department but not the White House.
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.
"Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted," he added.