Donald Trump
Donald Trump Reuters

The United States Department of Justice said on Monday it had requested more time to respond to a request from lawmakers for evidence about President Donald Trump's allegation that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him.

Trump recently accused Obama on Twitter of wiretapping him during the 2016 election campaign, a charge denied by Obama’s spokesman.

The House of Representative’s Intelligence Committee later said it would look into Trump’s claims of wiretapping as part of an existing investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee later sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting proof for the allegation by Monday.

A department spokeswoman said it had requested "additional time to review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist", according to the Reuters news agency.

The request came hours after White House press secretary Sean Spicer tempered down the rhetoric with respect to the wiretapping claim.

Speaking to reporters, Spicer said Trump was not actually referring to wiretapping when he tweeted about wiretapping.

"I think there's no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election," Spicer said, adding, "The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”