Asked About Trump’s Wiretapping Claims, Conway Talks Microwave Spying

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway is interviewed by Howard Kurtz during a taping of his "MediaBuzz" program on the Fox News Channel, in New York Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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Kellyanne Conway said Monday that comments she had made over the weekend – about how “microwaves that turn into cameras” can be used for surveillance – were not in reference to President Donald Trump’s claims that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower.

“I wasn’t making a suggestion about Trump Tower,” the adviser to the President told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “Those are two separate things.”

“That’s what you were asked about,” Stephanopoulos responded.

“And I answered him about surveilling generally,” Conway responded.

She later said that “of course” she had no evidence that Obama ordered surveillance on the current President during the 2016 campaign, an explosive charge that Trump himself has still provided no evidence for.

The White House has since asked the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate the issue. Conway said Monday that both committees “are now going to have this as part of their very attenuated Russia campaign connection.”

“I’m not Inspector Gadget. I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign,” Conway told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday morning. “However, I’m not in the job of having evidence. That’s what investigations are for.”

Conway also made the point on her Twitter account that, though she was answering a question about Trump’s wiretapping charges, she wasn’t speaking about those charges.

On Sunday, in a discussion with the Bergen County Record newspaper, Conway was asked: “Do you know whether Trump Tower was wiretapped?”

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other, now, unfortunately.”

“Do you believe that was –” he interjected.

“There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones,” Conway continued, seemingly referring to CIA spying techniques published by Wikileaks. “Certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. So we know that that is just a fact of modern life.”

“What the President has asked is for the investigation into surveillance to be included in the ongoing investigation that the House and Senate intelligence committees are already doing.”

Notably, Conway told Stephanopoulos on Monday that FBI Director James Comey “has asked the Department of Justice to make a comment, but he hasn’t made a comment.”

She seemed to be referring to an anonymously sourced report in the New York Times, after Trump’s initial claim, that Comey had asked the Justice Department to contradict the President’s clams. Members of the Trump administration have been critical of journalists citing of unnamed sources.

Previously, Conway said of that Times story: “All I saw was a published news report, I didn’t see a statement from him so I don’t know what Mr. Comey knows,” she said, adding: “We have a double standard here on anonymous sources. The media is are quick to rely upon them for everything, including these leaks.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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