The White House has accused the media of automatically siding with Barack Obama after Donald Trump claimed that his predecessor ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the election.
Insisting that a Congressional inquiry into the President's allegations should take place, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee said that the media should only assume the allegations were false once that had concluded.
Offering no evidence to back up his claim, Mr Trump tweeted over the weekend that Mr Obama had tapped his phones in the lead up to the election.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Ms Huckabee claimed the media were biased in favour of Mr Obama so will believe anything he says without question.
“It is very interesting how when this past president says it’s false everybody is like ‘oh well obviously it is’ but when we’ve been saying it for the last six months nobody believes it," she told ABC News’.
“Frankly, I think if the President walked across the Potomac [river] the media would report he can’t swim."
She added: “This is a constant battle that we are having to fight, all we’re asking is that this double standard be washed away and we allow the congressional committee to do their job.”
Ms Huckabee was echoing an earlier complaint by Mr Trump who has repeatedly claimed his critics in the media were reporting “fake news” designed to discredit him.
He has consistently attacked CNN in particular, after it reported allegations that Russia had comprising material relating to his personal life in January.
But despite Mr Trump’s protests about media bias, several high profile members of the Obama administration have denounced the wiretapping accusations as “false”.
Mr Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said it was a “cardinal rule” of his administration that “no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice”.
Similarly the former Director of National Intelligence under Mr Obama, James Clapper, flatly denied the existence of an order during his tenure.
He told NBC News: “For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.”
FBI director James Comey, who publicly announced a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails during the last days of the campaign, also privately attempted to convince the Justice Department to publicly denounce the accusation.