House intel leaders ask Justice Department for alleged wiretapping evidence

PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, and Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., conduct a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center after a briefing with FBI Director James Comey about Russia, March 2, 2017. PlayTom Williams/AP Photo
WATCH Senators demand wiretap records from DOJ, FBI

The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee have formally asked the Justice Department to turn over any documentary evidence -- applications, orders or warrants -- related to alleged wiretaps of President Donald Trump and his associates during the campaign, two congressional aides confirm to ABC News.

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They have asked DOJ officials to provide information -- if it exists -- by March 13, one aide said. The request was submitted to acting deputy general Dana Boente, who stepped in for Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he recused himself.

The request from House Intel Committee Chairs Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) follows a similar inquiry from Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) earlier this week.

The letter to Boente was first reported by Reuters. Trump accused Obama of wiretapping his phones last Saturday, but he has not provided any evidence and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said no wiretapping took place.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who was among top members of Congress briefed last night by FBI Director James Comey, also called on Comey this morning to go public with his views if he believes that Trump was mistaken with his series of tweets last weekend accusing President Obama of ordering him to be wiretapped.

Pelosi did not say whether Comey has shared with lawmakers what has been widely reported, specifically whether he asked the Department of Justice to set the record straight publicly in refuting Trump’s claim. She was careful to say she would not divulge any information learned last night or in other classified settings, instead framing her response as a hypothetical.

“Theoretically, do I think that a director of the FBI, who knows for a fact that something is mythology, but misleading to the American people, that he should set the record straight? Yes, I do think he should say that,” Pelosi said at a breakfast with reporters organized by the Christian Science Monitor.

She continued, “Just going to the president – what is going on there? I mean, really. I think that he crossed the line there.”

Asked by ABC News if that means she believes there’s no truth to the president’s claim, she responded, “Of course not.”

“It couldn’t possibly be true because it is not how the system works,” she later said, referring to the manner in which FISA warrants are issued and safeguards against domestic targets.

Pelosi declined to comment on whether she has been told of any specific communications between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. But she did say the fact that Paul Manafort was removed from his position as Trump campaign chairman last summer suggests that the Trump operation knew of a connection between Manafort and Russian officials.

“Manafort was fired during the campaign, so there must be some evidence that there was a connection there,” Pelosi said.

Manafort was ousted last August amid internal feuding and media scrutiny over his past work for pro-Russian interests. The Trump operation has denied that campaign officials had contacts with the Russians, a claim that has come under fire in recent weeks as evidence of contacts has emerged.