The US Justice Department on Monday, (13 March) asked the House Intelligence Committee for more time to gather evidence relating to Donald Trump's allegation that former president Barack Obama 'wiretapped' his phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.
The House Intelligence committee had set a deadline for Monday for the department to submit evidence. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice, Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement that they needed more time "to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist".
A spokesperson for Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the Intelligence Committee said it needed the evidence to be submitted by 20 March, when a hearing is set to take place. The spokesperson also indicated that it would use a subpoena if it did not happen.
"If the committee does not receive a response by then, the committee will ask for this information during the March 20 hearing and may resort to a compulsory process if our questions continue to go unanswered," the person said, according to Reuters.
On 4 March, Trump had tweeted that Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory.
A spokesperson for Obama, Kevin Lewis said in a statement that "neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."
Former director of national intelligence (DNI) James Clapper said over the weekend, in an interview to NBC's Chuck Todd, that under his watch "there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign."
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham along with his Democratic colleague Sheldon Whitehouse asked the FBI for more information. On Monday, Graham said that he still has not heard back from the bureau about Trump's claims.
"I'm getting very ill-tempered over this. If I were the FBI Director, who I like, I would respond to my letter ... before I publicly testify because you'll run afoul of the Judiciary Committee," he said.
At the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump "used the word wiretap in quotes, to mean broadly, surveillance, and other activities."
"He doesn't really think that president went up and tapped his phones personally," he added.
Adviser to the President, Kellyanne Conway said in an interview to ABC's Good Morning America that she had no evidence to prove the claim.