Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that President Trump is “right” that Trump Tower was monitored during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Muksaey, who served under former President George W. Bush, added that he does not believe the surveillance was directed by Barack Obama himself.
“I think he’s [Trump’s] right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the attorney general–at the Justice Department,” Mukasey said.
“This is the difference between being correct and being right. I think the president was not correct certainly in saying that President Obama ordered a tap on a server in Trump Tower,” he added. “However, I think he’s right in that there was surveillance and that it was conducted at the behest of the Justice Department through the FISA.”
Over the weekend, Trump accused Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in Manhattan before the presidential election in November.
Mukasey said that his belief is based on new reports and comments from Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“I also base it on a kind of inadvertent blurting out by Adam Schiff that his committee wants to talk to the counterintelligence agents at the FBI who are involved in this,” Muksaey said. “Now what that means is that this is part not of a criminal investigation, but of an intelligence gathering investigation.”
President Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, released a statement over the weekend saying that Obama never ordered surveillance on American citizens.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Lewis said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
Lewis did not say whether the Justice Department specifically ever ordered surveillance on Trump or other citizens.