Web Desk (24 News) — U.S. President Donald Trump stood by unproven claims on Friday that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 White House race and shrugged off a dispute with Britain over the notion their spy agency had a hand in it, reported a foreign news agency.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman earlier in the day dismissed the charge against Britain’s GCHQ spy agency as “ridiculous” and said the White House had promised not to repeat it.
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But at a news conference Trump brushed aside a question about whether it was a mistake to accuse British intelligence of eavesdropping.
“We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it,” Trump said.
He was referring to Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano who on Tuesday accused Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agency of having helped Obama, a Democrat, wiretap Trump, a Republican.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday quoted Napolitano’s comments about GCHQ during a testy briefing with reporters.
But speaking at the White House news conference, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at his side, Trump distanced himself.
“That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox, and so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox. OK?” Trump said while standing by his initial charge that the previous U.S. administration eavesdropped on him.
“As far as wiretapping, I guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps,” he said to Merkel.
U.S. ties with Germany were frayed by news reports in 2013 citing leaked intelligence documents that Washington had bugged Merkel’s mobile phone.