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‘I Have No Evidence to Support President Donald Trump Wiretap Claim’: White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway

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Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway is interviewed by Howard Kurtz during a taping of his "MediaBuzz" program on the Fox News Channel, in New York Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) VOA
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White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says she has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered the phones tapped at the Trump Tower hotel in New York.

In an interview broadcast on CNN early Monday, Conway said, “I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.”

When questioned by CNN host Chris Cuomo, Conway did not say whether the White House would meet a Monday deadline set by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee for submitting evidence supporting Trump’s claim, which he made on Twitter more than a week ago.

After her Monday morning TV appearance, Conway tweeted, “we are pleased the House/Senate Intel Committees are investigating & will comment after.”

Neither the White House nor senior intelligence officials have offered any information that would indicate any wiretapping took place, and an Obama spokesman has called the allegation “simply false.”

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff of California, told ABC News Sunday he does not to see any evidence.

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“Either the president made up this charge,” he said, “or perhaps more disturbing, the president actually believes this.”

McCain speaks out

On Sunday, Senator John McCain of Arizona told CNN, “The president has one of two choices: either retract or provide the information that the American people deserve. Because if his predecessor violated the law, President Obama violated the law, we’ve got a serious issue here, to say the least.”

McCain said he has “no reason to believe the charges are true.”

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) VOA

Under U.S. law, a president cannot order someone’s phone to be wiretapped. He would need approval by a federal judge and would have to show reasonable grounds to suspect why a citizen’s telephone calls should be monitored, such as if he were suspected of criminal wrongdoing. The White House said last week that Trump is not under criminal investigation.

The wiretap charges are part of congressional investigations into the details behind the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the presidential election to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state. The probes are also looking into Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials before and after the November vote.

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U.S. intelligence concluded Russia hacked into the computer of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks then releasing thousands of his emails in the weeks before the election. The emails showed embarrassing behind-the-scenes efforts by Democratic operatives to help Clinton win the party’s presidential nomination.

‘A lot of shoes to drop’

McCain, the losing 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said “there’s a lot of shoes to drop” about information between Trump associates and Russia.

McCain said he was troubled by his own party removing a provision from its political platform last year that called for a U.S. dispatch of defensive weapons to Ukraine to help in Kyiv’s fight against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“Clearly, it was not the will of most Republicans,” McCain said. “There’s a lot of aspects with this whole relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin that requires further scrutiny and, so far, I don’t think the American people have gotten all the answers.”

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Trump to Declare Public Health Emergency for Opioid Crisis

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Photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. VOA

Washington, October 26: U.S. President Donald Trump plans to declare a nationwide public health emergency Thursday to address an escalating opioid crisis that killed more than 175 people each day last year.

Senior administration officials told reporters Thursday morning the declaration will give states more flexibility to use federal funds, although it will not come with specific funds. The declaration will also broaden the use of telemedicine and remove some regulations.

Officials said Trump wants to include money for the crisis in a year-end budget agreement but to accomplish that, one official said the administration would have to have an “ongoing discussion” with Congress.

The president did not declare a more comprehensive national state of emergency as recommended by his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. A national state of emergency would have provided states access to funding from the Federal Disaster Relief Fund, which is used to help manage response and recovery efforts associated with disasters such as hurricanes.

Officials said a national state of emergency would not have been the best approach for a long-term crisis and would not have provided authorities with resources the government does not already have.

Trump will sign a presidential memorandum that will order the Department of Health and Human Services the declare the public health emergency and direct all federal agencies to use any emergency powers at their disposal to reduce opioid deaths.

Officials said the emergency would be in effect for 90 days and can be repeatedly renewed.

Trump promised on the campaign trail to make the opioid crisis a top priority. It has developed into one of the nation’s most urgent public health issues, claiming a life every 19 minutes, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. The Medical Care Journal estimated last year the economic cost of opioid overdoses, dependence, and abuse was nearly $79 billion.(VOA)