President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff on Monday said former administration officials are upset by President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that he was wiretapped by the previous administration.
In an interview on CBS “This Morning,” Alyssa Mastromonaco described the new administration’s first 100 days as “pretty uncommon,” saying the White House appeared to be ignoring protocols and reversing Obama administration positions “for sport.”
Asked about whether Obama was personally upset by Trump’s wiretap claim — which has been rebutted by congressional officials from both parties with knowledge of ongoing law enforcement and intelligence investigations — Mastromonaco described the frustration past staffers had with the new president.
“I don’t know how angry he is. I know the rest of us are pretty pissed,” Mastromonaco said.
When pressed, she added: “It’s insane. It’s an insane accusation. It’s an insane accusation for a president to accuse another president of, and also anyone who knows Barack Obama knows he wouldn’t do that.”
A number of notable former Obama administration officials have vehemently denied that Obama wiretapped the then-Republican presidential candidate.
Former press secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this month that there are rules prohibiting presidents from personally interfering in a Department of Justice investigations.
“This may come as a surprise to the current occupant of the Oval Office, but the president of the United States does not have the authority to unilaterally order the wiretapping of an American citizen,” Earnest told ABC.
He continued: “If the FBI decided to use their wiretapping authority in the context of the counterintelligence or criminal investigation, it would require FBI investigators, officials at the Department of Justice going to a federal judge, and making a case, and demonstrating probable cause to use that authority to conduct the investigation. That is a fact.”
And while the new administration’s attempts to substantiate the claims have unintentionally forced confrontations with key allies like the UK, Trump may face a new challenge this week when FBI Director James Comey testifies in front of Congress, where the director is expected to rebuke Trump’s wiretap allegations.
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