Cruz: Trump’s wiretap charge unproved but ‘not necessarily outlandish’


Highlights

Ted Cruz said he has yet to see evidence confirming Trump’s charge that Obama had surveilled him.

Cruz said Obama’s history suggests the charge is “not necessarily outlandish.”

Cruz said it would be a disaster for Congress to repeal Obamacare without making sure premiums don’t increase.

Speaking Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said President Donald Trump should produce evidence that then-President Barack Obama wiretapped or otherwise surveilled Trump Tower toward the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, but Cruz argued that the charge is “not necessarily outlandish.”

“We do know that the Obama administration targeted its political enemies. We do know that the IRS, for example, targeted citizens’ groups that spoke out against Obama,” said Cruz, R-Texas. “So the notion is not necessarily outlandish, but it’s serious, so it needs to be based on facts, so we should see what the facts are behind this.”

“It’s worth looking at, was there a fishing expedition the Obama administration was trying to do or not?” he said.

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In separate TV appearances, both the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on “Fox News Sunday” — and the ranking Democrat — U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California on NBC’s “Meet the Press” — said that new documents provided by the Justice Department offered no evidence for Trump’s wiretapping claim.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, a member of the intelligence panel, said on ABC’s “This Week,” that Trump ought to apologize for making the unsubstantiated charge.

“To quote my 85-year-old father, Bob Hurd, who has given this advice to all of my friends when they get married, it never hurts to say you’re sorry,” said Hurd, a former CIA agent who said that errant assertions about Obama and the supposed role of British intelligence in spying on Trump would hurt U.S. relations with critical allies.

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-San Antonio, who also serves on the committee and appeared on “This Week,” agreed.

“When you hear these outlandish comments, what I keep thinking is that there’s a real possibility that the president is undermining these relationships,” Castro said.

Cruz on Obamacare, Gorsuch 

In his “Face the Nation” appearance, Cruz also said he had been at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort Saturday with members of the president’s team to negotiate potential changes in the House bill to repeal Obamacare, which Cruz said cannot and should not pass the Senate as currently written. If it were passed in its current form, he said, it would be a political and policy disaster.

“If Republicans hold a big press conference and pat ourselves on the back that we’ve repealed Obamacare and everyone’s premiums keep going up, people will be ready to tar and feather us in the streets and quite rightly,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the step-by-step strategy of the congressional GOP leadership to dismantle the Affordable Care Act is doomed to fail if measures to reduce premiums, including repealing a variety of insurance mandates, are not included at the outset.

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“We have a chance for an incredible substantive win for the American people, and, I got to tell you, I am spending night and day meeting with House members, meeting with senators, meeting with the administration,” Cruz said. “Just yesterday I spent three hours at Mar-a-Lago with (U.S. Sen.) Mike Lee (R-Utah) and (U.S. Rep.) Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), negotiating with the president’s team, trying to fix this bill.”

Cruz also predicted that Judge Neil Gorsuch would be confirmed for the Supreme Court with 60 votes or, if Democrats attempt a filibuster, with a simple majority vote.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, on which both Cruz and his Texas colleague, John Cornyn, serve, will begin hearings on the Gorsuch nomination Monday, even as the House Intelligence Committee holds its first hearing on Russian efforts to affect the 2016 election, with testimony from FBI Director James Comey and Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency.



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