On Thursday, Spicer supported the president’s wiretapping claims by reading from several news clippings – among them was a claim by Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, who said three intelligence sources told him the Obama administration used Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to eavesdrop on Trump.
According to former United Kingdom foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the claim that British spies were working under Obama’s orders implies that the United Kingdom government was officially involved.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman, James Slack, says the British government has made it clear to the USA that the “ridiculous” claims should be ignored.
The Trump’s administration is facing calls to either shore up, or drop, the unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama ordered the phones tapped at Trump Tower during the election campaign.
Mrs Merkel and Mr Trump appeared to have an awkward meeting at the White House, with the US President seemingly refusing to shake the German Chancellor’s hand in front of the media in the Oval Office.
A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said British officials had voiced concern to senior Trump aides but the official declined to explicitly apologise for Spicer’s citation of the Fox News allegations.
Within hours GCHQ responded in a rare statement calling the claim “utterly ridiculous“.
It seems unlikely that President Obama is hanging out near his front door, expecting that big “I’m sorry” bouquet to arrive … what with Donald Trump being a dick and all. The senators statement also addresses Trump’s more recent statement that he was not merely speaking about wiretapping specifically.
Shortly afterward, Fox backed off the claim made by its commentator, Andrew Napolitano. And documents the White House submitted to the committees on Friday didn’t appear likely to change that assessment.
“Maybe I would not be here if it wasn’t for Twitter”, Trump said in an interview with Fox News.
“The White House needs to make it clear that they do not have, and have never had, any evidence that suggests that GCHQ or any British involvement in these matters was ever justified”. “I think the idea is to say that if these organizations, these individuals came to these conclusions, they merit looking into”.