Obama spokesman calls explosive, unsubstantiated claim made by Trump 'simply false'

In a series of Tweets early Saturday morning, President Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama of tapping the phones in Trump Tower prior to Election Day. 

Trump offered no evidence to back up his claims.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday morning.

“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!” the president continued. “I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

A spokesman for President Obama flatly denied Trump's accusations in a statement, calling the claims "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. "As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen."

Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama's deputy national security adviser, blasted Trump's claims on Twitter. 

As the Washington Post's Phillip Rucker notes, the president often attempts to stir up new controversies using Twitter to deflect attention from events in the news, such as a growing list of confirmed communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials.

On Friday, right-wing radio host Mark Levin claimed that Obama was using “police state” tactics to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign. Levine's comments were later reported on the conservative site Breitbart News. Steve Bannon, a top aide to Trump, was the executive chair of Breitbart before joining the White House.

It’s not the first time Trump has made an explosive claim about Obama. Back in 2011, the then-reality TV star jumped on the "birther" movement by claiming Obama wasn’t born in the United States, even after Obama made public his long form birth certificate from Hawaii.

In September 2016, then Republican presidential-nominee Trump finally admitted that Obama was a U.S. citizen.

"President Barack Obama was born in the United States," Trump said brusquely at the end of a campaign event. "Period."

This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.

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