GOP senator cites 'civilization-warping crisis of public trust,' demands Trump explain Obama wiretapping claims

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska demanded in a statement on Saturday that President Donald Trump further explain his allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election campaign.

"The President today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information," Sasse said.

He continued: "We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and the President's allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots. A quest for the full truth, rather than knee-jerk partisanship, must be our guide if we are going to rebuild civic trust and health."

Trump had fired off a series of early morning tweets alleging without evidence that Obama had tapped his phones in Trump Tower during the election campaign. He called Obama "sick" and compared him to former President Richard Nixon and former Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

"Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!" Trump tweeted.

A spokesman for Obama said Saturday that any allegations that Obama had ordered surveillance on any US citizen was "simply false."

"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," spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a statement.

Sasse said if Trump was illegally tapped, he must explain "what sort of wiretap it was and how he knows this."

The other possibility, Sasse said, was that Trump was legally tapped with the authorization of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order, in which case a judge would have found a surveillance request credible enough to authorize the wiretapping.

Sasse demanded that Trump obtain the application for surveillance and provide it to the public, or at the very least the US Senate.

Sasse wasn't the only Republican to speak out on the issue — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Saturday that an illegal wiretap would be "the biggest political scandal since Watergate," but that a legal wiretap would also be a scandal of the same proportion.

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President Donald Trump addresses joint session of Congress

US President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017.

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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, center, arrives for a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. President Donald Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nations defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda.

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U.S. President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Carryn Owens (C), widow of Senior Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, sits with Ivanka Trump (R), daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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U.S. President Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. President Donald Trump arrives.

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U.S. First Lady Melania Trump stands as attendees applaud during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. President Donald Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nation's defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda.

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US President Donald Trump (C) arrives to address a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

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U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives.

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U.S. President Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. first lady Melania Trump (bottom, center) is applauded on her arrival as daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner (R) look on.

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US President Donald Trump arrives to address a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on February 28, 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Female Democratic members of the House of Representatives.

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U.S. President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Maureen Scalia, the widow of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, acknowledges applause after being mentioned by U.S. President Donald Trump.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (R) looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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US President Donald Trump arrives to address a joint session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on February 28, 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Sen. Bernie Sanders applauds as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. Congress.

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, greets Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), right, while arriving for a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. President Donald Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nations defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda.

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U.S. President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner.

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U.S. President Donald Trump's limo is seen upon his arrival to address a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives.

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US President Donald Trump (C) arrives to address a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan arrives for U.S. President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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US President Donald Trump (C) arrives to address a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

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Vice President Mike Pence (L) and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

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U.S. Capitol is seen minutes before President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington, U.S. February 28, 2017.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Cabinet members applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. Congress.

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U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Democratic female members of the House of Representatives talk before U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. Congress.

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US President Donald J. Trump (L) shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) as he arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017.

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First lady Melania Trump (R), Ivanka Trump (top 2ndR) and White House Senior Advisor to the President for Strategic Planning Jared Kushner (top R) arrive to a joint session of the U.S. Congress with U.S. President Donald Trump on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, arrives for a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. President Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nation's defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda.

(Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) arrives.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the U.S. Congress.

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U.S. President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. Supreme Court Justices listen as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Congress.

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US President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017. / AFP / POOL / JIM LO SCALZO (Photo credit should read JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Denisha Merriweather (C) is recognized as US President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017.

(JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)

Megan Crowley (C) is recognized as US President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Trump addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. President Donald Trump arrives.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

US First Lady Melania Trump arrives before US President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017, in Washington, DC.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, speaks during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Trump will press Congress to carry out his priorities for replacing Obamacare, jump-starting the economy and bolstering the nation's defenses in an address eagerly awaited by lawmakers, investors and the public who want greater clarity on his policy agenda.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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