The FBI on Sunday responded to Donal Trump’s claims that President Barack Obama ordered his phone to be wiretapped and what they said made him furious.
In a statement released Sunday, FBI director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, according to senior Intelligence officials, the New York Times reported.
The FBI director argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, the officials said.
Comey made the request after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, saying the claim falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, according to the report.
The FBI’s unprecedented request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness.
The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.
The claims about wiretapping appear similar in some ways to the unfounded voter fraud charges that Mr. Trump made during his first days in the Oval Office.
Just after Inauguration Day, he reiterated in a series of Twitter posts his belief that millions of voters had cast ballots illegally — claims that also appeared to be based on conspiracy theories from right-wing websites.
As with his demand for a wiretapping inquiry, Mr. Trump also called for a “major investigation” into voter fraud. But no investigation has been started.
Senior law enforcement and intelligence officials who worked in the Obama administration have said there were no secret intelligence warrants regarding Mr. Trump. Asked whether such a warrant existed, James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program:
“There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president-elect at the time as a candidate or against his campaign.”
Trump’s unfounded claims were met with skepticism by lawmakers, including Republicans. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said he was “not sure what it is that he is talking about.”
“I’m not sure what the genesis of that statement was,” Mr. Rubio said.