Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding NSA surveillance in Washington, Tuesday, June 18, 2013.
Charles Dharapak/AP

One of Trump’s top allies questions validity of wiretap allegations

Updated
It’s been nearly two weeks since Donald Trump claimed Barack Obama illegally tapped phone lines in Trump Tower, because as the Republican put it, his presidential predecessor is a “bad (or sick) guy.” In general, the responses from GOP lawmakers to the explosive allegations fell somewhere between confusion and apathy.

There was, however, an exception. House Intelligence Committee Chairman David Nunes (R-Calif.), one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters on Capitol Hill, said on March 5 he would take the conspiracy theory seriously and “make inquiries” into the allegations.

This morning, the California Republican updated reporters on what he’s found.
“[A]bout the issue with the president talking about tapping Trump Tower, that evidence still remains the same. We don’t have any evidence that that took place. In fact, I don’t believe, just in the last week of time, the people we’ve talked to, I don’t believe there was an actual tap of Trump Tower.”
A few minutes later, Nunes went on to tell reporters that if you take Trump’s tweets very literally, then “clearly the president was wrong.” (In context, Nunes seemed to be referring to the idea that Barack Obama personally went to New York and surreptitiously entered Trump Tower for the purpose of conducting covert surveillance.)

The fact that a member of Congress is skeptical of Trump’s controversial claims may seem routine, but Nunes’ comments are notable because of his strong support for this White House, including serving on Trump’s executive transition committee. Practically every time there are new revelations surrounding the administration’s many controversies, it’s the House Intelligence Committee chairman who rushes to defend Team Trump, even going so far as to call reporters to wave them off of scandals Nunes is supposed to be examining.

So when even he publicly distances himself from a high-profile Trump allegation, it suggests the White House is isolated on one of the president’s more important conspiracy theories.

This is not to say there was no surveillance at Trump Tower. What’s more, additional evidence may yet come to light that changes the story. But for now, no one outside the White House seems willing to defend the president’s anti-Obama claims.

Postscript: Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly told CBS News this morning that he never provided Trump with any information about Obama having wiretapped him.

Conspiracy Theories and Donald Trump

One of Trump's top allies questions validity of wiretap allegations

Updated