US Justice Department report doesn't confirm Donald Trump's wiretap claim: Media report
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 18, 2017,
Mar 18, 2017, 17:34
Spicer on Thursday cited remarks by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News that Obama used the British spy agency known as GCHQ to wiretap Trump.
Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump answered a question on the wiretap allegation by referring to the US National Security Agency's reported tapping of Merkel's phone several years ago. "That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox, and so you should not be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox". "It's not a charge that I would ever have ever made, and frankly unless he can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think President Obama is owed an apology in that regard", Cole said.
In a subsequent media report, Fox's legal analyst Napolitano claimed that "three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that president Obama went outside the chain of command" to order the surveillance.
Asked why he had not relied on U.S. intelligence for a claim with extraordinary legal implications, Mr Trump said: "Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency".
"Mr Spicer was simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story", the White House explained in a statement.
A Senate committee on Thursday concluded that there were "no indications" Trump Tower was under surveillance by the USA government before or after the election.
"Mr Napolitano added: "[Mr Obama] didn't use the NSA, he didn't use the Central Intelligence Agency, he didn't use the Federal Bureau of Investigation and he didn't use the Department of Justice, he used GCHQ.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said the department had "fully complied" with the panel's request.
Mr Trump's allegations against Mr Obama have sparked reactions ranging from bafflement to anger in Washington, with both Democrats and Republican lawmakers saying they have no evidence to support his claim.
"The president has already been very clear that he didn't mean specifically wiretapping", he said. "We've received assurances that these allegations won't be repeated".
On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee received a set of documents from the Justice Department in response to its request for materials regarding Trump's accusation. McMaster also told his counterpart that "their concerns were understood and heard and it would be relayed to the White House".
The British intelligence agency, which rarely comments on allegations about intelligence matters, flatly denied the claim, responding with a statement calling the allegations "nonsense".