NEWS

Did Barack Obama Wiretap Donald Trump? According To Fox News, GCHQ Did It For Him

Bold.

14/03/2017 17:54 | Updated 14 March 2017

A Fox News analyst has claimed - without evidence - that Barack Obama wiretapped Donald Trump with the help of a British spying agency to monitor him during the election campaign.

Andrew Napolitano said three intelligence sources had told him the former President may have gone “outside the chain of command” and asked GCHQ to avoid “American fingerprints.

It follows a tweet by Trump earlier this month that Trump Tower in New York had been wiretapped - in which the President also offered no evidence.

He said: “Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA. He didn’t use the CIA. He didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use Department of Justice.

“He used GCHQ. What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database.

“So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this.”

GCHQ has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

Trump tweeted on March 4 that Obama had tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the election. But Trump offered no evidence to back up the accusation.

Through a spokesman, Obama said neither he nor any White House official had ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said nothing matching Trump’s claims had taken place.

Trump’s assertions have put his administration in a bind. Current and former administration officials have been unable to provide any evidence of the Obama administration wiretapping Trump Tower, yet the president’s aides have been reluctant to publicly contradict their boss.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer tried to clarify Trump’s comments Monday, saying the president wasn’t using the word wiretapping literally, noting that Trump had put the term in quotation marks.

“The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities,” Spicer said. He also suggested Trump wasn’t accusing former President Barack Obama specifically, but instead referring to the actions of the Obama administration.

Trump himself has not commented on the matter since his March 4 tweets, in which he said he had “just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”

He also wrote: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president?”

In two other tweets, Trump described Obama tapping his phones, but did not put the phrases in quotation marks.

The president’s accusations against Obama came amid numerous political questions surrounding his associates’ possible ties to Russia. The FBI is investigating Trump associates’ contacts with Russia during the election, as are House and Senate intelligence committees.

The White House has asked those committees to also investigate Trump’s unverified wiretapping allegations against Obama. The House committee has turned the matter back on the Trump administration, setting the Monday deadline for the Justice Department to provide evidence.

In a response Monday evening, the Justice Department said it needed extra time to “review the request in compliance with the governing legal authorities and to determine what if any responsive documents may exist.”

Other congressional committees are also pushing the administration to clarify Trump’s claims.

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