Speaking from the White House podium press secretary Sean Spicer quoted at length from a Fox News report, which alleged Obama had used GCHQ to dodge U.S. legal restrictions on monitoring United States citizens.
GCHQ said the claims it spied on Trump were “utterly ridiculous” and should be ignored, in a rare public statement.
And yet, given their divergent approaches and views on some of the more pressing issues of our time, it is expected that both leaders, when they meet at the White House, will look to find common ground on which to further their strategic relationship.
On Friday, Fox News said it was unable to confirm the allegations of Napolitano, a regular guest on the network. The president has a grab-and-yank style, which was on full display when he greeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.
Mr Spicer then went on to repeat claims of British intelligence involvement first made on Fox News earlier this week by Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey judge and legal expert for the network.
The two discussed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, trade agreements and other issues, while Trump’s claim that Obama asked British intelligence to tap his phones at Trump Towers was put again on the table by the USA president.
We don’t know what the report says.
Mr Spicer contacted Mr Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, on Thursday night (US local time) to try to deal with the unusual rupture between the USA and its closest global ally.
Some Republicans in Congress said Mr Trump should retract his claims, with Charlie Dent calling the accusation against Britain “inexplicable” and Mr Trump’s accusation against Mr Obama unfounded.
“Well, I’ve been reading about things”, Trump told Carlson. “So you shouldn’t be talking to me; you should be talking to Fox”.
As a presidential candidate, Trump criticized Merkel for allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany. Trump said he did not believe in isolationism but that trade policy should be fairer.
“Fox News can not confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary”, Smith intoned. A Senate aide, who requested anonymity to discuss the senators’ private briefings, said Burr and Warner would not have made the statement without being fully briefed on the matter.
Paul Ryan has also said that he’s seen nothing to substantiate the allegations that President Obama spied on Trump.