US President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump as he arrives on the platform at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, before his swearing-in ceremony. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Agency Report

US President Donald Trump on Saturday accused Barack Obama of tapping his phones during the presidential election campaign.

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“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!” Trump wrote on Twitter, without providing evidence of the explosive charge.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” he wrote in another tweet, referring to the political scandal that toppled president Richard Nixon in 1974.

An Obama spokesman called Trump’s accusations “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 issued several hours later.

“As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

Trump and Obama frequently traded barbs on the campaign trail, and the Republican real estate magnate was a driving force behind the so-called “birther” movement that questioned whether Obama was born on US soil and eligible to be president.

Trump levelled the charges in a flurry of tweets shortly after dawn, as his administration remains mired in controversy over communications between Russian officials and some of his senior aides including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The two men initially adopted a cordial tone as Trump took office, though the president has stepped up accusations against Obama in recent weeks, blaming his predecessor for being behind damaging leaks to journalists.

AFP