Rubio: White House 'will have to answer' to Trump's wiretapping accusations


WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio flew down to Florida with President Donald Trump one day before the president sent a series of tweets claiming — without evidence — that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower prior to the election.

Rubio told host Chuck Todd on Sunday's "Meet The Press" that he has "no insight" into what the president was referring to or what the motivation was for sending the tweets.

"Suffice it to say I don't have any basis, I've never heard that allegation made before by anybody," Rubio said. "I've never seen anything about that anywhere before. But again, the president put that out there, and now the White House will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to."

Rubio's comments come on the heels of NBC News' reporting Saturday that a senior U.S. official in a position to know said he and others had no idea what the president was talking about regarding allegations that Obama ordered a wiretap of communications at Trump Tower.

Former President Obama's spokesman also released a statement Saturday stating that the former president never ordered such surveillance.

Later on Sunday's "Meet The Press," former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that to his knowledge, there was no wiretap of Trump Tower.

Rubio, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said that he remains confident in the committee's ability to conduct a fair inquiry into Russia's activities to influence the last election and that a special prosecutor isn't yet necessary.

"Not now," Rubio said. "I certainly don't think we are at that point at this moment."

The senator added that he "would be the first person to tell you" and not sign his name if he did not have strong faith in the Senate committee's report.

"No one is there looking for a political angle," he said, declaring that members understand that "the credibility of the committee is on the line."

Responding to a question about whether Trump's use of the word "witch hunt" to describe questions about his administration's ties to Russia is fair, Rubio told Chuck Todd that the president has every right to defend himself.

"He obviously feels very strongly that he's being accused of things that he hasn't done and that there's hysteria out there in the media," Rubio said. "He has a right to express himself, just as people are out there basically saying that he won his election simply because of the Russians."