Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters Thursday he is concerned by the extent of surveillance President Barack Obama’s administration conducted on President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and transition team.
“I was just a little shocked by it,” said the senator, who is also the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and fourth in the line of succession behind Speaker Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.).
The senator was speaking in the context of news reports that Attorney General Jeff Session, a close adviser to the Trump campaign, met with the Russian ambassador twice during the 2016 election cycle and the New York Times report that Obama administration officials ran an intense information campaign against Trump and his team in the months before the New York City developer entered the White House.
This was also two weeks after the release in the media of transcripts from Obama’s Justice Department wiretaps of retired Army Lt.Gen. Michael Flynn forced his resignation as National Security Adviser.
Hatch said he was not completely surprised by Obama’s use of official apparatus to track political opponents.
“I suspected that they were going to do that anyways,” he said.
The senator also said that he suspects information gathered by the Obama administration’s surveillance of the Trump camp made its way to Obama’s anointed heir Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign.
“Yeah, I got a lot of suspicions, but I have no idea, so I am not going to speculate.”