House Intel Leaders See No Evidence on Wiretap
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 18, 2017,
Mar 18, 2017, 17:01
Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday read a series of media reports that he said backed up Trump's wild allegation, including Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano's claim that GCHQ, Britain's spy agency, eavesdropped on Trump on former President Barack Obama's behalf.
Their rebuttal of Trump's claim was further echoed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican on Capitol Hill, who told CNN on Thursday that "we have not seen any evidence that there was a wiretap" - although he also argued the false claims would not damage Trump's credibility.
Asked by a reporter at an event on crime in Richmond, Virginia, if he ever briefed Trump on "investigations related to the campaign or did you ever give him any reason to believe that he was wiretapped by the previous administration", Sessions replied, "Look, the answer is no".
Speaking at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Donald Trump expressed "strong support" for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but insisted allies "must pay what they owe". "That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox".
"I think the president's going to be marked and judged by his record", he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says of her visit with President Donald Trump that it's "much better to talk to one another than about one another".
British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman earlier in the day dismissed the charge against Britain's GCHQ spy agency as "ridiculous" and said the White House had promised not to repeat it.
The House Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on allegations of Russian meddling in the USA election.
Two senators on a key Senate Judiciary subcommittee were at odds over whether Comey privately assured them that he would confirm by Wednesday whether there's a criminal investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation. That changes next week when the House Intelligence Committee holds its first public hearing. That drew complaints from the British government.
An aide placed that piece in Trump's daily reading pile, said a White House official, who like other aides would not be named discussing the president's private routine. "The Department of Justice, as you know, has not supplied this".
For almost two weeks now, President Donald Trump and his aides have floated a conspiracy theory involving President Barack Obama wiretapping then-candidate Trump's phone lines in his Manhattan office building.
He also accused reporters of "cherry-picking" what they choose to cover, and of ignoring House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes who said it was "very possible" there was surveillance of Trump. "At least we have something in common", he said while gesturing toward Merkel.
Radio host Mark Levin voiced without evidence the idea that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower.
"I think there's significant reporting about surveillance techniques that existed throughout the 2016 election", Spicer said, without providing any examples.
GCHQ called the allegation "utterly ridiculous".
GCHQ - the Government Communications Headquarters - works alongside MI5 and MI6 and focuses on defending the country against cyber threats.
Trump also said that the USA would respect "historic institutions" in what may have been a reference to the European Union, which has always been seen by the United States as a bulwark of Western security, but about which senior figures in Trump's government have expressed skepticism.