President Trump requested an investigation into the alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower on Sunday. On Monday, his spokesman refused to say he'd accept its findings.
“I think we will definitely have a lot of respect for what they say and what they look into, but I think to blanketly accept, to say that we’re going to accept everything they do might be a little premature,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at an off-camera press gaggle on Monday.
The White House on Sunday requested that House and Senate committees investigate Trump’s allegations that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his Manhattan skyscraper.
Pressed by reporters, Spicer would not commit to recommending that the Justice Department bring charges in the event that congressional investigators deem that federal laws were violated.
“I think depending on a lot of things you don’t want to say we’re going accept everything they do,” he said.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican, said on Sunday that his committee will probe the allegations in conjunction with an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
Any alleged wrongdoing on that front of the investigation could also be referred to the Department of Justice if the committee concludes that anything illegal occurred, which could put the White House in an awkward position if it preemptively accepts the committee’s findings.
Asked whether the White House would accept the findings of the larger probe, including any pertaining to issues beyond Trump’s wiretapping allegations, Spicer reiterated that it would take a position depending on the specific outcomes of the investigation.
“We’re going to let congress work its will. If we have a problem with any of the conclusions we’ll let it be known,” he said.
Trump first floated the wiretapping allegations in a tweet on Saturday. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” the president wrote.
Spicer brushed off a number of inquiries on Monday, including questions about whether Trump believes that the wiretap was obtained pursuant to surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He insisted that the president’s tweet “speaks for itself.”
“It could be FISA, it could be surveillance,” Spicer speculated. “I think [Trump] has made it clear that there’s continued reports that’s been out there. I’m not going to continue to - I think the president has made it clear yesterday that he wants Congress to go in and look at this.”
Spicer jibed reporters who attempted to interject with follow-up questions. “You’re not on camera,” he told one. “You don’t need to jump in.”
The White House has not held an on-camera press briefing in a week.