The Justice Department announced this evening that it needs more time to try to explain President Donald Trump’s wiretapping claims.
The request for an extension comes after the House Intelligence Committee recently asked it to provide information on the wiretapping allegations––allegations that are equal parts astounding and unsubstantiated––by the end of the day. But that didn't happen.
“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,” Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, said in a statement on Monday evening .
A spokesman for Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said the department would have one more week to comply.
“The Department of Justice has asked for more time to comply with the House Intelligence Committee’s request for information related to possible surveillance of Donald Trump or his associates during the election campaign,” said Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes. “We have asked the Department to provide us this information before the Committee’s open hearing scheduled for March 20.”
This entire fiasco began when President Donald Trump tweeted, without providing any evidence, that President Obama had wiretapped his phones during the election.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump tweeted a week and a half ago.
A spokesman for Obama has denied the accusation, prompting both the Nunes, and ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, to ask the Justice Department to provide any evidence to back up this serious allegation.
The House Intelligence Committee is ramping up its investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential elections, with its first open hearing on March 20.
The committee has not subpoenaed the department, so the Justice Department technically doesn’t have any legal obligation to provide it with information. That could soon change.
“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,” Langer said.