Donald Trump on GCHQ wiretapping claims: I was quoting 'legal mind'

Donald Trump with Obama

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain said on Friday that the White House had backed off the allegation.

But at a news conference Trump brushed aside a question about whether it was a mistake to accuse British intelligence of eavesdropping.

When asked if the DOJ's documents would confirm Trump's as of yet wholly unsubstantiated allegations, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told CNN, "I don't think so" as he walked into a room to read the report.

A report from the New York Times tonight says that one of the sources Fox's Judge Andrew Napolitano cited for his claim about GCHQ surveillance of Trump that sparked a national incident this week came from someone who once pushed a Michelle Obama hoax.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) responded to White House claims, which were repeated by Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday, after being first mentioned on Fox TV earlier on Tuesday.

Trump indicated yet again Friday during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that his phones had been wiretapped. "You should be talking to Fox", explaining that the White House just quoted the information they got from the "brilliant" lawyer Napolitano on Fox News.

He said: "As far as wiretapping, this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps".

USA ties with Germany were frayed by news reports in 2013 citing leaked intelligence documents that Washington had bugged Merkel's mobile phone.

During a media briefing at the White House, presidential spokesman Sean Spicer drew reporters' attention to comments made earlier this week on Fox News TV by former judge Andrew Napolitano in relation to Mr Trump's controversial claim that wiretaps had been installed at his NY residence. Investigators had been dispatched to Hawaii, Trump claimed.

The Senate Intelligence Committee had said on Thursday it had found no evidence Trump Tower had been under surveillance in 2016, contrary to Trump's previous claims.

"The Department of Justice has complied with the request from leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and Judiciary Committees seeking information related to surveillance during the 2016 election", Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Friday.

FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers are set to testify Monday at a House Intelligence Committee hearing, which Hurd called "must-watch TV".

Reuters reported earlier this week that an unidentified British security official had denied the allegations about Trump.

GCHQ, the United Kingdom surveillance mammoth intimately linked to the National Security Agency (NSA), has taken public exception to an allegation repeated from the White House podium that, if true, would probably shatter the Five Eyes intelligence alliance so dear to both Washington and London.



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